Somaliland CyberSpace

That Freedom Shall not Perish

Source: 2004



Sanaag is a remote eastern region of Somaliland, which bordered by approximately 380 kilometres of Red Sea coastline to the north and locates the border between Somaliland and eastern regions of Somalia. The region is divided into three districts: Erigavo, Badhan and Ceel AF weyne (El Afweyne), with the towns of Erigavo as the regional capital and Badhan and El Afweyne as the district capitals.

In terms of development, both the former central governments of Somalia and current Somaliland government and by International agencies and other NGOs, the region of Sanaag has been almost totally neglected. There are no surfaced roads in the region and services of almost any type are non-existent in the towns and the villages. Sanaag region lacks an adequate transport, communication and infrastructures, leading to a chronic lack of public services, particularly the important areas such as: health services education, agriculture and water supply.

Health Situation

- In health sector, health facilities are almost totally absent from villages to district capitals and there is a skeleton health service in the region capital.

- No basic medical facilities exists in the district hospitals and even the three district hospitals are virtually non-functional due to shortages of staff, supplies equipment, drugs, fuel and vehicles, and almost total lack of ongoing training, supervision, evaluation and maintenance equipment.

- There is acute shortage of surgical, orthopaedic, ophthalmic and gynaecology/obstetric equipment in all hospitals.

- Many health problems are evident in the region, the maternal mortality rate and incidence of TB are extremely high, and the infant mortality rate and incidence of vaccine preventable diseases, childhood communicable diseases, anaemia, malnutrition, respiratory tract infections, diarrhoeas and problems associated with pregnancy and childbirth are serious health problems.

Erigavo General Hospital

Erigavo General Hospital is one of the most neglected hospitals in Somaliland and it lacks all basic health service facilities and equipments. The Erigavo hospital is the main regional hospital/ referral centre and only hospital for the three districts of Sanaag region and surrounding areas. The hospital has the following wards:

1. Maternity ward
2. Children's ward
3. Female ward
4. Male ward
5. Tuberculosis (TB) ward

Maternity ward

The Maternity ward is not functioning at all, due to lack of equipment,

Children's ward

The children's ward is also not functioning at all

Female and Male wards

The female and male wards are barely functioning with very limited equipment, they were both recently built but lack of equipment has rendered it useless.

Tuberculosis Ward

The Tuberculosis ward is fully functioning and it is the only department in the whole hospital that has a patient in it.

The most in need now are.

1. Ultra sound machine for mother and child safety and other applications.
2. Portable ECG machine and portable cardiac monitor
3. Doppler fetal heart monitors
4. Obstetric forceps sensor
5. Vacuum extractor
6. Sterilizer Drums.
7. Operation theatre tables
8. Operating light or operating theatre lamps
9. Instrument for general surgery such as minor surgery sets, amputations sets, chest drainage instruments, scales, various size of forceps etc.
10. Gynecology/obstetric sets and delivery sets such as D & C sets, episeotomy sets etc.
11. Resustation sets such as oxygen machine and other A&E equipments and sets.
12. ENT sets
13. Eye examination sets.
14. X-ray machine films and safety equipments.
15. Laboratory equipments such as Binoculars microscopes, test tubes, sample collection containers, test reagents, laboratory safety equipments, blood bank equipments, Serology equipments, chemical pathology equipments, hematology equipments such as HB sets, ESR sets etc.
16. Centrifuges and incubators, fredges, distilled water making machine, infusion sets etc.
17. OPD equipments such as patient examination tables, blood pressure apparatus, wheel chairs etc.
18. Patients screens/curtain.
19. And many more.

Source: Direct Relief International, Date: 31 Mar 2005 (

Somalia: Direct Relief's programme activities update Mar 2005

Recipient: Hargeisa Hospital
Shipment Number: 4232
Shipment Date: 3/17/2005
Value: $336,637

The tsunami that struck much of Southeast Asia on December 26, 2005 also impacted the northeastern region of Somalia. The region had already endured four years of drought that decimated the core of its economy - livestock. Many residents had turned to fishing as their main livelihood. In the areas affected by the waves of water, fishermen have lost all of their boats and equipment. According to governmental and international aid agency estimates, up to 300 Somalis might have died and up to 54,000 people might have lost their livelihoods and been made homeless by the tsunami. Somalis have also been without an internationally recognized and effective government since 1991, when President Mohamed Siad Barre was overthrown. This absence of a central authority complicates efforts to assess the damage caused by the tsunami and to provide appropriate help to the affected population.

This emergency air shipment was distributed by Hargeisa Hospital Group, located in Hargeisa, the capital of the self-declared independent Republic of Somaliland. The Hargeisa Hospital Group is one of the primary healthcare facilities serving the estimated 1.5 million people living in or near the city. The hospital provides a wide range of services such as pre- and postnatal care, deliveries, emergency medical treatment, surgical procedures and x-rays. Dr. Yassin Abdi, hospital administrator, is working with the Somaliland Ministry of Health to respond to the needs of the tsunami victims in Puntland, the worst hit area. They are setting up a small hospital near the affected area to attend to a growing number of patients being transferred from Puntland for treatment. Currently, no other aid has been received. This Direct Relief emergency air shipment included such urgently requested medical goods as I.V solutions, hospital beds, sterilized gloves, antibiotics, and wound dressings. We thank Bristol-Myers Squibb, Hospira, and Pfizer for their assistance with this shipment.


Erigavo Secondary School Project


UHUBSO is aiming to enhance the well being of Somaliland people and hence , empower and encourage participation in reconstruction and development of Somaliland as well as providing possible opportunity in education, environment and health of Somaliland children.

Project Overview

This project named (Erigavo Secondary School Rehabilitation and Maintenance) is sponsored by UHUBSO to assist the Sanaag community to rebuild the damaged school and help them it's functioning in order to meet local demand.

The Sanaag region is the largest in landmass in Somaliland. The region capital is Erigavo other major towns are Ceel Afweyn, Badhan, Las Qoray Garadag, Hiis and Maydh, however, Sanaag Region is most neglected  region in the new republic in all aspects of public services such as education, health transport infrastructure etc. It has the highest rate of unemployed in Somaliland.  The region population is increasing dramatically and public service to meet their need is either not exist or diminishing.

Recent drought in the region increased the number of nomads flogging from the country side after loosing their herds and settling main towns.

UHUBSO is urging Somaliland's diasporas to take this project seriously and Sanaag diasporas to take the lead. Erigavo Secondary School need immediate attention and support and UHUBSO is committed to facilitate your support and to deliver the said project on schedule. (God Willing)


The School was build in 1975 by the Former government and the Erigavo community, to provide the need for secondary education required by Sanaag Region. After it's completion it was a success story, producing up 200 high school graduate each year since 1975 to 1987.

Due to the result of civil war out break in 1988 the school was used as a military base by the Former dictator Siad Barre's army to launch attacks on Sanaag region civilians, thus the school was damaged by shelling, burning and vandalism.

The School sustained to be out of service and without repairs since 1999 which also worsen, it's condition.  Spring 1999 UNHCR commence a small project to reconditioned four classes, two offices, and two toilets which enable for the first class of 32 students (in 1999) to join the higher school in Erigavo in 12 years.  2001 Three more classes have been rehabilitated by Somali forums. By the end of 2002 another plot laboratory rooms have maintained by UNHCR.

The support provided by the above two organisation helped the school to function and provide basic education for small number of students.  Since then year in year out the number of students increased by up 200%.  The school is expecting for the academic year of 2004/2005 to enrol new 200 students, which will take the total number of this academic year up to 500 students.

Erigavo Education Committee has put forward an appeal to UHUBSO to assist the school to meet this ever growing demand.  UHUBSO realises if action not be taken very urgently either the school will be shut down or 80% of students will be turn away hence this project became UHUBSO's priority.

Please view the report from the school committee (Erigavo School Report)


The objective of this project is to make Erigavo Secondary School to survive from closure, to be fully functional and meet the demand of Erigavo and surrounding villages' community for Secondary education. The scope of the project will be accomplished in three phases.

The phases are priorities on the basis of their importance and impact on the school.

Project time scale

 The project first two faces will be completed within as soon as posible. The third face of the project will be on going one, until further notice.

Phase 1

Immediate purchase of operational equipment and stationery such as;

o Tables and Chairs
o Chalks and black board markers
o Photo copy machine
o To build a fencing wall to identify the school compound and to reduce the disputes of the school area.
o Toilets
o Printing Paper
o Office Stationary.
o Transport of the supplies


Implementing school library;

o Assigning a room and assessing repair requirements
o Purchasing all necessary equipments and transported to location.
o Completing external and internal structure of the library.
o Book collection
o collating, storing and convey of books
o Establishing library management team
o Handover and opining ceremony.

Phase 3

Teacher incentives

o Laising with funding groups
o Implementing subscription system
o Promoting subscription system signing up subscribers.

Project Budget and Time Scale

Phase 1

This phase of the project is the most urgent one and we are planning to accomplished before the start of the academic year 2004-2005
Required Object Quantity CPU Total Cost

Tables and Chairs








Photo copy machine




Printing Paper

5 boxes



Office Stationary








Fencing wall




More Classes




Transport of the supplies




Total cost for phase 1




Phase 2

Those who are lucky enough to live the developed countries and had the chance to access their education system will have a greatest sympathy For Erigavo Secondary School students.  These students have never seen a library let alone it's benefits. Setting up a Library for the School will not only give them an access to the academic books they require, but will help them to use their time at the school to the full.  UHUBSO will be collecting books all over the world.

UHUBSO is expecting to finalize the cost of establishing a library building, delivering books and the cost of managing the library per year.  As soon as this become available we will published it on our website and start raising the funds..

Phase 3

This face of the project is to attract teachers and minimize staff turnover. The lack of teachers' incentives become stigma to Erigavo Secondary School and hence the school fail to keep current teachers and it also become hard to find new recruits.

It become apparent to UHUBSO this problem should be tackle and consequently UHUBSO is appealing funds for teacher incentive scheme which certainty will solve this problem.

UHUBSO is expecting to raise this fund March 2005 and same time each year after.

After the project is implemented the project task force would assess the results and the progress report would determine if we have achieved our outlined goals, objectives and vision. It is important to note that we will submit a progress report after all donations are collected and the implementation phase begins, so we can assess whether we need to modify our goals or not.  Also we will show all the donation collected and the shortfalls to meet as the collection progress.

Source: April 21, 2005

Thinking is allowed on the Information Super High Way

Ahmed Keyse Ali, London,

There are two hypothetical question that recur to my mind whenever I see effloresce of Somali websites. How could the former Somali dictatorship regime cope with the Internet where control of information is impossible? Would the late dictator lay off his censors and devise other methods-such as not introducing Internet Service Providers-to avoid seeing politically aware people?

These two questions are relevant today given the reaction to Awdalnews editorial on past SNM misdeeds. The editorial "SNM in balance: The need for a Truth and Reconciliation Committee in Somaliland" has generated a heated debate on The Somali National Movement, one of the armed outfits that fought the former dictatorial regime.

The timing of editorial was good despite the outpouring from certain Farah Ali Jama (Taking Awdalnews to Task ) who is eager to see Awdalnews answering a list of questions he formulated-"Why it [ Awdalnews ) thinks that "it is time that Somaliland establishes a Truth and Reconciliation Committee in the style of the famous South African one and bring those who committed crimes in the name of the SNM and those of other clans who committed crimes in the name of defending tribal pride to face rule of law[?]" This is a legitimate question if one has not digested the virtual substance of the editorial, but there is no reason to assume that the writer who posed the above-quoted question has not perused the Awdalnews s editorial on SNM as he deems the editorial to be "a deliberate act of treachery and disloyalty to the cause of Somaliland then."

What is striking about the piece (Taking Awdalnews to Task) is the author's use of words (treachery and disloyalty) that remind one of the dreaded former Somali National Security Court that legitimated summary executions and mid-night knock on the doors of citizens by government agents. Why does the same horrible dictatorship language continue to overhang our heads like sword of Damocles?

Rather that posing questions on a set of suggestions that Awdalnews editorial put forward could not Farah Ali Jama try to look for inadequacies ( if there are any ) in the editorial writer's reasoning? His reasoning plays second fiddle to his mastery of the English that is full display in any of his writings.

The failure to develop a language suited to a discourse that can bring up human rights violations or lead to slaughtering of sacred tribal cows constitutes a major stumbling block to the endeavours of many Somali commentators. But that same failure does not have to make us blind to the fact that the Internet is a medium through which people can express views. The fact that editorial is attributable to Awdalnews makes a mature discussion of issues a more palatable one.

Very few Somalis have a vivid memory of a time when people expressed political views without fearing consequences. The Internet has afforded yet another opportunity in which we can revive our candid dissuasions without being admonished for broaching a topic. It is said the rigidity in most Muslim countries is due to a theology that has La Tas'al (Don't question) as a starting point. It is not good idea to use that same methodology when discussing past or present issues.

Source: April 21, 2005

Taking Awdalnews to Task

Let me clearly state here that the equivocal Awdalnews editorial: SNM in Balance: The Need for a Truth and Reconciliation Committee in Somaliland is nothing but an out of the blue fictitious problem and a claim of a need that never exist in Somaliland. In addition, this substandard editorial piece which is clearly laden with ridiculous sweeping statements, a heavy dose of unsubstantiated statements, and incriminating allegations is truly an inappropriate tongue-lash that is intended to inflame the psychic of some communities, to breach peace and order, to incite the general public, and a sinister ploy to tarnish the cause and international standing of Somaliland.

It is one thing to merely raise this non-existent issue in the name of freedom of speech or the freedom of the press with the intention of trying to confine the debate that may ensue locally, but to peddle the same issue to some other lengths particularly to circulate it to some hostile Somalia websites as well as to some international quarters such as in the West, Middle East, and Africa is totally another thing.

According to my simple search, I was surprised to find the number of websites in which Awdalnews peddled its mediocre editorial. I also heavily suspect that this website and its editor have shipped this misplaced, ill-advised, misleading, and unwarranted editorial piece to some other unknown organizations that may be hostile to the cause of Somaliland. If this is not a deliberate act of treachery and disloyalty to the cause of Somaliland then, what is it?

As you are aware, others and I earlier suggested to Awdalnews to retract their inciting editorial. Nevertheless, Awdalnews chose to ignore our legitimate concerns and seem to rejoice and wallow on their provocative work and continue to indulge themselves with several supportive articles from some specific group of writers that were pouring in their defence particularly from those who would like to be known locally and internationally as "Awdalians" or "Awdalites" or "Intellectuals," a shadowy anti-Somaliland group that is bent on dividing our citizenry and trying to peddle their community as a distinct society and Awdal province as an autonomous region!

One of these unscrupulous writers who also peddles the claim that Awdalnews is the best Somali website and continues to belittle the rest of the Somali websites and further claims that Awdalnews adheres to high journalistic standards and alleges that it has become the home of the intellectuals who also likes to be known as an intellectual and who shamelessly disparages the articles of others for lacking substance, facts and figures, a standard in which he never lives up; given his recent articles in defence of this website had even the audacity to claim:

  1. "To my opinion only a loose confederation of autonomous states may work."
  2. "Somaliland communities signed separate treaties with the British in 1884. The `Gadaboursi' signed a treaty with the British in `December 12, 1884 in Zayla,' and other Somaliland communities also signed separate treaties with the British. We now know for the last 40 years, some groups used that fictitious device as the stepping stone to the highest echelons of power, when they succeeded to sell their false numerical superiority over other Somali communities. That false mathematics was nothing but a ploy to grape power."

This reminds me of the other community to the East of Somaliland who also seem to have discarded the original name of their community and have been peddling themselves for quite sometime as the "Dervish Community" or "Beelaha Daraawiishta" or "Beelaha SSH" or "Beelaha SSCH" in the both oral and written forms! Do you now get the big picture?

Whatever the case, their absurd claims is a futile exercise that will not dent one bit of the unity of our people, cause, and existence of Somaliland. The intrepid people of Somaliland are well versed of their hidden motives and agenda and will get back to them when that time comes.

For these reasons and many more, it is time that we take Awdalnews to task. Awdalnews has some explanation to do in regards to its inciting editorial in which it adamantly continues to stand by it. It is therefore incumbent that Awdalnews to provide the people of Somaliland facts and figures in relation to their loaded and unsubstantiated allegations as shown below:

  1. "The SNM was born out of bent-up anger, frustration, humiliation and disrespect for human dignity and human life."
  2. "The formation of the movement, therefore, came into being in the heat of the moment and was mostly driven by emotion rather than by a well-laid political vision and national agenda."
  3. "Like any liberation movement with thousands of fearless, trigger-happy and adrenaline-thrilled youth in its was futile to expect it to respect the rules of war and refrain from committing excess."
  4. "It is time to re-examine, analyze, and re-evaluate the rights and wrongs of the SNM."
  5. "It is high time that the former SNM commanders and supporters have to acknowledge the ugly crimes committed in the name of the movement in the same way they celebrate its good deeds."
  6. "It is time to admit that SNM had.its crimes and its share of responsibility for the plight of hundreds of thousands of Somalilanders, destructions and annihilation of whole towns and villages and killing of hundreds of innocent farmers, businessmen, poets, intellectuals, elders, religious men, and women and children for the crime of belonging to ant-SNM clans."
  7. ".the former SNM commanders and fighters should also be courageous enough to remember the victims of the movement and should reach out to the women who were widowed, the mothers who lost their beloved sons and daughters and the children who were orphaned or maimed in the name of the SNM."
  8. "One wonders whether it ever occurred to the former SNM commanders and fighters that as much as its music for their ears to be called Mujahids, hearing such description may be loathsome to the victims of the SNM."
  9. ".can anyone deny the fighters of other clans who fought against the SNM militias in defense of their honor, their property and their existence to be decorated heroes and Mujahids of their concerned clans."!!
  10. "The former SNM commanders and fighters love to claim sainthood by repeatedly reminding their former adversaries that they have extended to them an amnesty blanket and have forgiven them for taking the gun against the freedom fighters. The question that former SNM fighters forget to ask themselves is `who has forgiven who?'"

Awdalnews is also incumbent on answering the following questions:

  1. Why it thinks that "it is time that Somaliland establishes a Truth and Reconciliation Committee in the style of the famous South African one and bring those who committed crimes in the name of the SNM and those of other clans who committed crimes in the name of defending tribal pride to face rule of law. It is also high time to give the victims of both sides the chance to have their stories heard before a neutral court. Only in this way would all Somalilanders embrace the legacy of the SNM beyond its present tribal confines."
  2. Whether it regards the National Reconciliation Conference in Burao city in 1991 as valid and binding. And whether it is satisfied with, respects, and abides by the outcome of this important and historic reconciliation conference.
  3. Which specific crimes were committed to who and which specific community it is referring to and where are these victims and why this community had not come forward for the last 15 years?
  4. Which specific SNM commanders it is referring to - dead or alive and which commanders committed which crimes to which victims and communities and how many of these victims are dead or alive and why the government has not done anything for them.
  5. Why this claim seem to be confined to Awdal community and why they omitted the other communities.

Finally, it is essential that Awdalnews take these issues seriously and answer all of the above mentioned thoroughly. It is time that Awdalnews to come clean with the people of Somaliland and the only way it can do so or exonerate itself from the brouhaha it created in the first place is to substantiate all of the above stated issues and to provide the people with tangible evidence to support the issue as well as its wild claims.

Farah Ali Jama, Ottawa, Canada.fjama022@UOTTAWA.CA

Source: 18 Apr 2005

What do you know about the developments of amoud university?

It was my first visiting to Amoud University since the University was established however i saw important development the are strides by the amoud administrations and whole society of the region all though i have not conclude here the developments and atmospheres that i met there but i am trying to mention here a few of these developments.

Amoud university has turned to the development projects both road building that are intended to establish a traffic link between borama and the campus with the aim to decrease trasport cost of the university and primarily the stress associated with the consumption of that would have been used otherwise during the back of the university by the student and the teachers alike this road may also open another opportunity for the students to use hostels in the campus the distance to amoud university is eigh KM and the students buses endured the awful tarrain since the university was established the outcome of the new road is will be shorter distance between the two destinations due to the improved alignments removal curves and then this will increase the road user saving stemming from the university budget earlier the university incurred additional expenses to repair the vehicles and also paid unforesees expenditures hopefully this road is going to improve access to the campus by reducing half of the distance after to the completion of the project one should not forgot that all roads required constant maintenance though the ammount will very heaviness of crown to be kept free of vegetation drainage system to be kept fully operational erosive damage to be made good where cut and fill methods were employed, carriage way to be repaired the objective of such programmes are strengethed future development of infrastructure and social services and in addition to strengethen local markets nevertheless we can also learn from this project with a lesson and and economic anlysis is a decision making tool to be applied for all projects programmes or operations and it should always be carried out and taken into consideration the economic anlysis should be undertaken for all types of projects for all different forms of finance which are available or which are being sought amout university is branded as the home of education in addition to that it is also known to be agricultural area in which nearly all the fruits and vegetables consumed in borama are produced and it is hoped that the production of these farmers will increase the economic of the farmers of the area which accessibilty to market gets improved the project is partially financed by somaliland road authority and amoud university and the community of Borama the role of community to contribute to the project will be vital there fore ammoud university full packing of this partner to contribute to this development in order to fullfil it is objectives

By Mohamed Omar (Siraj) Email

From Apr-20-2005.

When two different worlds talk in Hargeisa dry river!

From the pen of I. Mead, Ottawa. ON. Canada.

I was listening the news from Radio Horyaal, the voice of the people of Somaliland. There was "A" [undesired] conversation or question and answer to be precise, between the repudiated and forgotten Muj. Of SNM and an uninvited, nervously curious police commissioner at the bed of the Hargeisa Dry River after the Mujahedeen were denied to have their meeting in Hotel Ming-Sing of Hargeisa by a remnant entity!

The head of the police, invited him self, to meat the forgotten, deceived, dishonored, disregarded, disfranchised and discontent Muj Of SNM. The founders and the saviors of the people and the country of Somaliland! He asked them some questions! The Muj. Tried to answer the un-answerable, to their best ability while controlling their anger.

The questions had no relationship to the respective answers and the answers likewise had no relationship to the questions either! The questioner and the questioned were from too different worlds regarding to their experiences in the struggle to find the lost Republic! The Mujahedeen were there for this nation. The head of the police was not there for this Republic! The families and friends of the Muj sacrificed their lives and livelihood for the liberation of this (contested) Country. The guest there and his friends were never there! Where were they then? We know where they were! We know where they are now!

One thing both of them were right, each one in his, or their own right!

The Muj knew what they were talking about.The police commissioner also knew what he was talking about! Each talked about a different world while they were in the world of Hargeisa Dry River! However both of the parties were pretending otherwise! Moreover the meeting was unbalanced, unproductive, because one party imposed himself on the other with out a prior consent from the concerned party!

Two things were frankly clear although they were not spoken! Some times unspoken words are more powerful than spoken ones. That is when silence express more and staring speaks volumes!

a) The chief was saying it all with out actually uttering a word. In just gazing at the Muj, it seemed he was saying: "Scary. Don't you blame us guys; you threw away your baby and departed from it! Whether you went out in seclusion for thanking your lord for your victory over Siyad Barre, whether you sought guidance emulating prophet Muses or what ever! We found the baby left alone! We then grab it, own it with out any effort and embrace it! Forget about it now, you won't see it any more. You bunch of losers!" So, "why don't you go away and look after your camels or become cools or whatever! Go and blame your [SNM] leaders at the time, or your self or who knows whom else you should blame, but not us. I hope they understand my point concluded the chief!"

b) The Mujahedeen were also saying it all with out actually saying a word. In just staring at the man! It seemed they were saying: "Where was this guy when hill loose all over and only the brave was there? Where was he when blood and tear filled this riverbed? Where was he and his bodies when we chased the Siyad Barre army, their tail between their legs? Who these cowards play our "technika" to scare off? Where was he when we liberated the people and the land of Somaliland? Where were they when we were struggling for the liberation of humanity when the Siyad Barre regime de-humanized all of us including the commissioner and his bodies? Where was he when we secured their human dignity from the beasts of Mr. Barre!"

"How unconscionable, how immoral and ungrateful my people [these people] are, the Muj concluded? Let alone they reward us for our sacrifice but how dare they deny our basic human rights. The right to exercise the freedom of expression, and the right of association in the very soil we liberated which they did not? And many more questions". "This Republic is our baby, in the collective sense", they wondered! The unequal two parts depart in two different directions with two different thinking, until another time!


WSP Somali Dialogue for Peace project

In 2004, the WSP Somali Programme launched the Dialogue for Peace project. It is the first time that WSP International's three Somali affiliates, the Academy for Peace and Development (APD) in Somaliland, the Centre for Research and Dialogue (CRD) in Mogadishu and the Puntland Development and Research Centre (PDRC), have engaged in a collective exercise.

The overall aim of the project is to create conditions conducive to community-based reconciliation in Somalia through organized in-country dialogues on issues essential to peacebuilding, thereby contributing to the overall peace and recovery process. More specifically, the Dialogue for Peace is intended to facilitate the implementation in southern Somalia and Puntland of any peace agreement arising from the Somali National Reconciliation Conference, by drawing attention to key concerns - including challenges to peace - likely to emerge from the state-building process. In Somaliland, the Dialogue is aimed at consolidating peace and stability, while facilitating the complex process of democratization through elections, the implementation of constitutional democracy and decentralization.

The Dialogue for Peace consists of four phases. The first, a preparatory phase, entailed the setting up of research teams and support staff for the affiliates and apprising them of all aspects of the Dialogue. The second step was the preliminary research phase or conflict- and actor-mapping conducted by affiliate separately. This exercise brought forth "entry points" or focus areas and culminated in meetings in Hargeysa and Nairobi towards the end of 2004. These Project Group meetings brought together representatives of a broad cross-section of society, who took ownership of the Dialogue exercise and will henceforth lend direction to it.

In the main, or consultative, phase of research, which is now under way, working groups with relevant and technical experience will identify the key needs for each entry point and develop action plans to address and resolve those needs. To this purpose, consultations will be held with community representatives, civil society organizations, members of the business community and political leaders.


WSP International Somali Programme Dialogue for Peace "Wadatashiga Nabadda" 2004 - 2006

May 2004 Contacts: David Whittlesey, Deputy Executive Director of Operations (Geneva) Tel: 41 22 917 8712 Fax: 41 22 917 8713 Jerry McCann, Operations Manager (Nairobi) Tel: (254) 2 375 4166 Fax: (254) 2 375 4165


1. Project Title: Dialogue for Peace in Somalia / Somaliland

2. Organization: WSP International

3. Location(s): Country-wide, including South / Central Somalia (based from Mogadishu), Puntland / Northeast Somalia (based from Garowe), and Somaliland / Northwest Somalia (based from Hargeysa)

4. Duration: 24 months, from January 2004 - December 2005

5. Sector(s): Governance / Peace building / Civil Society

6. Project Summary: Through the `Dialogue for Peace' programme, WSP will conduct an extensive process of public consultation on issues essential to peace building and state reconstruction. This will involve meetings to be held across Somalia (including Somaliland) that will bring local communities, civil society representatives and Somali political leaders together to identify and agree on key issues and methods of addressing them in order to build a sustainable, peaceful society. The process will maintain regular linkage with members of the international community, and will engage Somali Diasporas in the dialogue as well. Where local consultations result in the willingness of local communities and political actors to directly work towards reconciliation, WSP will adjust its role to facilitate such efforts that will help underpin the efforts to achieve a sustainable peace.

Project Description 1.


Somalia represents the most durable case of state collapse in the modern era. Thirteen years after the demise of Siad Barre's dictatorship, the number of militia-factions continues to grow, while hopes for regional administrations to form sustainable governing institutions have dwindled. At the same time, armed violence continues, fueled by clan-based tensions, public mistrust and factional manipulation. In October 2002, IGAD member-states and international sponsors established the Somalia National Reconciliation Conference (SNRC). Despite initial hopes, the process has encountered serious difficulties and a successful outcome is far from certain. While the international community is focused on re-establishing inclusive negotiations with Somalia's political leaders, concrete efforts within Somalia to address the longer-term issues of sustainable peace building and legitimacy have yet to begin. As a result, there is a danger that the outputs of this peace effort may not have roots inside Somalia and may end up lacking the broad-based support necessary for sustainability.

In this context, WSP International proposes conducting a `Dialogue for Peace' - an extensive process of public consultation on issues pertaining to peace building and state reconstruction. WSP International's experience in Somalia over the past eight years indicates that the understanding and trust that is developed through the WSP methodology can help resolve conflicts directly, while at the same time building consensual approaches to address the social, economic and political issues necessary for a durable peace. This will be a complementary initiative to the on-going peace process - one that builds on its previous and ongoing work - to ensure that core issues are addressed inside Somalia. In order for the Dialogue to be successful, WSP International recognizes the need for sustained relationship with the Somalia National Reconciliation Conference (SNRC) on-going in Mbagathi, Kenya, as well as those structures and agreements that may emerge from its conclusion should there be any. WSP International and its affiliates continue to meet regularly with members of the IPF, the IGAD Facilitation Committee including the Special Envoy, Ambassador Bethuel Kiplagat as well as concerned diplomats to share the results of the organizations' ongoing work and to prepare for future cooperation. WSP International will thus be well prepared to work with the outcomes of the peace conference, whether these are structures such as a "reconciliation commission" or dynamic efforts to encourage further grassroots and political reconciliation, and move them forward inside Somalia. At the same time, especially in light of the unclear state of the SNRC, the Dialogue needs to be prepared now and to begin its work inside.

2. OBJECTIVES The overall objective of the Dialogue for Peace is to enhance conditions conducive for community-based reconciliation in Somalia through organized in-country dialogues on issues essential to peace building, and to thereby significantly contribute to the overall peace recovery process. The specific objectives of the Dialogue for Peace are the following:

- Participatory Research - To identify areas of consensus and disagreement in peace building through engaging a broad cross-section of the Somali people in public discussion, and to thus contribute to reconciliation efforts by local and international actors.

- Empowerment - To empower the Somali public to speak out regarding key issues and develop platforms for action on issues of reconciliation and reconstruction. To enhance the capacity of WSP affiliates in Somalia.

- Mobilization - To increase the relative weight of the interests of the Somali people and engage them more seriously in efforts to find a negotiated solution to the continuing crisis in Somalia.

- Reconciliation - To catalyze local, regional and national conflict resolution efforts by creating neutral space and mobilizing international support for political dialogue.

- Strengthening Civil Society - To engage civil society actors in peace efforts through direct cooperation in the process.


International methodology is broadly participatory and inclusive, promoting the interaction of diverse social and political groups. Through debate and the effort to reach consensual conclusions in a relatively neutral forum, the WSP International Somali Programme has directly involved over a thousand members of civil society, parliaments, private businesses, women's groups, administrations, local and international NGOs, UN agencies and others in policy oriented research and dialogue. In addition, thousands of Somalis within the country and the Diaspora benefit indirectly from the interaction, as well as exposure to the research findings and recommendations through dissemination of research papers, through the media, the internet, and by word of mouth. Research findings and recommendations also reach policy and decision makers in the Somali and international communities. WSP research products have been used as reference documents by officials in local administrations, in parliamentary debates, by local media organizations (print, television and radio), by local NGO's, international aid agencies and donors.


A number of factors have conspired to perpetuate state collapse in Somalia and to prevent a solution to the crisis: the legacy of corrupt and abusive political leadership, the emergence of entrenched political and commercial "conflict constituencies", the interference of regional powers and the neglect of the broader international community. Despite the widespread desire of the Somali people for a return to normalcy, the restoration of central government is a prospect that continues to divide them more than it unites them. The reasons for this ambivalence are several: a profound public mistrust of political institutions and leadership borne of past experience; the political manipulation of clan identity; and the dependence of most Somali political and faction leaders on external rather than internal legitimacy. Together, these elements add up to a view of government that serves the interests of a select few while being at best indifferent to the welfare of its public. At worst, such a government has proven abusive and predatory.

It has become conventional wisdom to blame the failure of the peace process on Somalia's recalcitrant faction leaders. This is only a partial explanation and its widespread acceptance by the international community has meant that there has been little effort to address the broader social and political dynamics of the crisis. Indeed, by skirting issues like legitimacy and accountability, past peace initiatives have threatened to restore to Somalia the kind of political leadership that precipitated the crisis in the first place, awakening deep seated suspicions and anxieties among the Somali population. Over the years, Somali faction leaders have successfully played upon their people's fears in order to perpetuate the crisis and sustain their own leadership role. Given such circumstances, international peacemakers have set themselves an impossible task: parallel and simultaneous peace building and state formation. Peace building requires reconciliation, the mending of relations and the restoration of trust. In Somalia this is an essentially consensual process, with any major actor having a de facto veto over decisions of the majority. State formation, on the other hand, is fraught with competition, anxiety and tension and will inevitably create the impression of `winners" and "losers."

It is no coincidence that every significant attempt since 1991 to restore central government to Somalia - including the present conference in Mbagathi - has been associated with an escalation in violence. The challenge for peacemakers in Somalia - both national and international - is to identify and harness the potential synergies between these apparently contradictory processes: to situate reconciliation firmly within the context of state building, while employing state building as a platform for trust-building and enduring reconciliation. Neither will be possible without the broad engagement of the Somali public. Peace building in the context of state formation While international efforts to restore central government to Somalia have generally been high level, extraterritorial affairs, `peace building' on the ground has generally been left to Somali civic and traditional leaders and a handful of international agencies engaged in civic action, training, education and a variety of related activities with limited or no linkage to the high-level efforts. All too often the `grassroots' level achievements have lacked sustainable depth, or been scuttled by battles between political leaders over actual or anticipated power-sharing arrangements. In practice, local peace-building efforts cannot be divorced from the broader political context.

It may even be counterproductive to do so. The impact of a settlement reached at the national political level can often be expected to override local level agreements. For example, given the importance of decentralization to the Somali peace process, the nature of the Somali state (unitary, federal, or confederal) and the number of administrative regions/ provinces are questions of extreme sensitivity.

A decision as to whether Gaalka'yo lies in a united Mudug region, is wholly part of Puntland regional state, or is permanently divided into northern and southern spheres of control, would threaten to upset whatever modus vivendi has prevailed to date between the inhabitants of the town. Likewise, the ultimate decision as to whether to retain Bay and Bakool as separate administrative regions, to unite them as a "Riverineland", or to amalgamate them with the Juba Valley to form the "State of Southwest Somalia" could create new and dangerous tensions throughout southwest Somalia. Decisions about control of economic infrastructure such as ports and airports, and the sharing of their revenues between central and local governments are potentially explosive. Other issues such as demobilization and reintegration of militia and ex-combatants may be less politically charged, but will require a significant degree of local leadership. For example, centrally planned and implemented demobilization exercises are not only expensive; they are also potentially dangerous since they concentrate large numbers of soldiers in specific locations and create competition among commanders and communities for access to resources. In other words, decisions reached at the national level may prove destabilizing on the ground (especially where signatories have contradicted the expectations or demands of their constituents), no matter how much energy has previously been invested in peace building. Even more problematic, ad hoc peace-building initiatives at the local level may produce agreements that are eventually nullified or overturned by national peace accords, leading directly to confrontation between local and national level leaders. State formation as a platform for peace building Peace conferences for Somalia have historically been state building exercises, aimed at the formation of a national government (usually as quickly as possible). Since most Somalis expect a future government to reproduce past patterns of political behavior, they are understandably ambivalent about the prospect. The fact that most of the leaders involved in state building exercises are known quantities, having either held senior posts in the past regime or taken part in the political and military factionalism of the post-war period, only reinforces the anticipation that history will repeat itself. No wonder that many Somalis have greeted past settlements with little real enthusiasm and a number have often resigned themselves to take up arms again instead. A constitutional and technical dialogue, such as the kind initiated by the Eldoret / Mbagathi process, can do much to mitigate people's fears by helping them to envision alternatives to the kind of leadership they have known in the past. The current schism between federalists and unitarians is just one facet of the debate.

Revenue sharing, the legal system, security forces and transitional justice issues - to name a few - all call for equally thorough discussion. In short, Somalis need the opportunity to rethink and reinvent their state in a way that represents the best possible compromise between the greatest possible numbers. Since Somalis generally have little faith in their current leaders, it is not sufficient to leave deliberations of this nature to the handful of self-appointed or hand-picked delegates who routinely attend internationally sponsored peace conferences. Indeed, to do so only reinforces the public sense of powerlessness, alienation from, and mistrust of political leadership. By engaging a broader cross-section of the Somali public in the debate about their nation's future, true Somali ownership of the peace process can be established, the mending of relations between the people and their institutions (and leaders) can begin and the foundation for a lasting peace be laid. WSP has long argued that the Somali peace process must involve extensive public consultation inside the country with a broad range of stakeholders.

Only then can the anxieties and tensions associated with state formation be fully exposed and dealt with in a transparent and open manner. At the same time, deliberation of national issues and choices in communities across the country can contribute in a direct and practical way to the processes of reconciliation and peace building. To date, political constraints and insufficient resources have precluded the full-scale application such an approach. However, the lessons learned from over a decade of peace making in Somalia have underlined the necessity of public dialogue and its potential as an alternative to third party mediation. WSP International's experience of more than 6 years of political facilitation and public debate throughout much of Somalia provides both the justification for such an approach and the platform upon which it could be organized.


The `Dialogue for Peace' will be a field-driven exercise, guided and supported by the WSP International office in Nairobi, Kenya. This office will be the duty station for the Somali Programme Coordinator and the Senior Somali Programme Officer, the Operations Manager and the Reports and Information Officer as well as the necessary administrative, logistical and financial management staff. From the outset, a donor support group will be formed to accompany the process. Inside the country, the `Dialogue for Peace' will be led and managed by three WSP International affiliate teams, including:
- Center for Research and Dialogue (CRD) in Mogadishu.
- Puntland Development and Research Centre (PDRC) in Garowe.
- Academy for Peace and Development (APD) in Hargeysa.

In early 2004, the CRD and PDRC teams agreed to combine their efforts in a jointly managed programme, while retaining their separate institutional identities. The APD team will manage its component of the dialogue independently of the other affiliates, but will continue to coordinate with them on substantive, technical and methodological issues.

The affiliate teams and WSP International Somalia Project Coordination office will meet regularly throughout the process to plan and coordinate activities. The major inputs required for the Dialogue for Peace are human resources, travel (e.g. by air and land), rental of infrastructure for meetings, computers and other IT equipment, audio / video recording equipment, and other general office equipment. Project Group To ensure local ownership of the Dialogue process, a Project Group (PG) will be formed during the course of the preliminary research phase. This will be made up of eminent persons carefully selected from a broad cross-section of prominent political leaders, traditional and religious leaders, civil society members, professional associations, business community and the diaspora through a joint selection process by the affiliates. Since the PG's representative nature necessitates that it be a fairly large body with dispersed membership, the WSP team may invite a smaller sub group of the PG to accompany the Dialogue more closely as a group of advisors. By identifying the Entry Points for the Dialogue, the PG effectively takes ownership of the process and "commissions" the WSP teams to assist the PG in the implementation. The Project Group (or its advisory sub-group) will subsequently meet regularly throughout the process to provide feedback, offer advice, and - when necessary - mobilize support for the process from political and civic leaders. Additional roles of the PG include helping to guide the programme's operational agenda to fit local circumstances, as well as to coordinate interventions on a countrywide basis. During the final phase of the Dialogue process (Restitution and Reflection), the PG will receive and adopt the results and findings of the main phase, confirming PG's responsibility for the process and its outcomes. Because of its key role in the Dialogue, the composition of the PG is of paramount concern. In the WSP context, a number of key principles govern the PG's composition and conduct. Among these are that it should include broad-based and inclusive representation of local actors; that it serve as a politically neutral space for dialogue; and that its decisions (including selection of Entry Points) be consensus-based.

Membership of the PG should be of a sufficiently high level that its deliberations and decisions are of relevance to broader political and social dynamics across the country. Working Groups Each Entry Point will be accompanied by a Working Group (WG), to be established following the first meeting of the PG. The Working Group is composed of key stakeholders (i.e. decision makers, professionals, experts and civic leaders) in issues covered by the Entry Point. Although more technical in nature than the PG, the WG functions according to the same principles with respect to inclusivity, representation, and political neutrality. Just as the PG exercises ownership of the overall exercise, the WG exercises ownership of its respective Entry Point. In a conventional WSP process, the WG initially identifies the objectives of the research process and guides the team in developing a research outline.

In the Dialogue programme, each WG will set itself achievable goals (within the context of the respective Entry Point) and guide the team in developing an action plan. The WG will accompany the team throughout the process, meeting more frequently than the PG (typically at least once a month). Members of the WG will be closely engaged in the management of the main consultative phase, often participating directly in consultations and leading or animating project activities. All formal findings, products or outcomes of the main consultative phase must be approved by the WG before they can be passed to the PG for adoption.


The Dialogue for Peace is an extensive process of public consultation on issues pertaining to peace building and state reconstruction. This will involve meetings with local communities, including civil society representatives, Somali political leaders and members of the international community. They will examine key requirements for a sustainable peace in Somalia and methods of addressing them. Where local consultations result in the willingness of local communities and political actors to directly work towards reconciliation, WSP will adjust its role to facilitate such efforts, which would help underpin the efforts of international actors to achieve an enduring peace settlement. The Dialogue's consultative process would apply a variation of the WSP participatory action research methodology, providing for an inclusive, consensus-oriented dialogue led by local actors and facilitated by national researchers. Discussions would be documented both in written and video form, and the local media would be used extensively to stimulate further discussion. In keeping with WSP's standard research methodology, the process will go through four stages:

I. Preparation
II. Preliminary Research
III. Consultation (Main Phase)
IV. Restitution and Reflection (Final Phase) Reconciliation and political facilitation are integral components of WSP's participatory methodology, ensuring that both type of activity will take place contemporaneously with the second, third and fourth stages of the dialogue process, and may at times take precedence. Throughout, dissemination of findings will be fed back to local communities through innovative use of the thriving Somali media sector, and at the international community through occasional papers, videos and other briefing sessions. Phase 1: Preparation A five-month period has been required, between January and May 2004, to prepare the WSP affiliate offices in Somalia to implement the Dialogue for Peace and the WSP office in Nairobi to support those efforts. This was extended from the three months originally envisioned mainly because of the need to assure the resource commitment of the international community before engaging in the programme. During this period the CRD team concluded research activities under its ongoing WSP programme (i.e. completion of a "zonal note" examining various aspects of the Somali crisis and reconstruction efforts), merging with preparatory activities for the Dialogue. At the same time, APD completed a complex institutional transition, establishing a General Assembly, Board of Directors, and putting in place a new management team. Outputs of the preparatory stage will include the following:

- WSP International and affiliate offices with the requisite staffing, financial and logistical capacity to implement the Dialogue for Peace on a nation-wide basis.

- Sufficient methodological training and preparation for affiliate teams to be able to conduct the preliminary phase.

- Formation of a donor support group for feedback on the progress of the Dialogue, revision of the project document and budget as required, and consultation on linkages between the Dialogue and the international community via the IGAD Facilitation Committee, IPF, SNRC or other international bodies/actors. Phase 2: Preliminary Research The preliminary phase of the Dialogue process will consist of a relatively rapid (approximately five months) `actor and conflict mapping exercise' upon which priorities for more comprehensive dialogue will be based. The purpose of the mapping exercise will be to: i) provide a contemporary assessment of conflict dynamics in Somalia; ii) review the strengths and weakness of previous local and international reconciliation initiatives, and iii) suggest areas of focus (entry points) for the main phase of the Dialogue.

This will involve three main components:
- Literature collection and review
- Interviews with relevant local and international actors
- Field work, group discussions etc.

The literature review will include a review of relevant and contemporary literature, notably with respect to conflict, reconciliation and state building issues throughout Somalia. The purpose of the review will be to ensure that the Dialogue is informed by past experience, including previous peace conferences, the ongoing IGAD-sponsored talks in Kenya, and the World Bank's Conflict Analysis Framework (CAF). WSP affiliate teams will travel extensively through their respective areas of responsibility inside Somalia, conducting interviews and consultations throughout their respective areas of responsibility, soliciting feedback that captures discussions in both written and audiovisual form. In particular, they will be seeking to identify priority concerns with respect to reconciliation and governance (state building); at the same time, the teams will identify local and regional leaders to participate in the PG, in order to ensure continuity between the local, regional and national levels of the Dialogue. The preliminary phase will also provide the WSP affiliate teams with the opportunity familiarize themselves with the current situation, explain the purpose of the process, stimulate local interest and identify potential local partners for the continuing consultative process. Upon conclusion of the mapping exercise, the WSP teams will come together to prepare a brief report and video documentary (a `Note' in WSP parlance) on their collective findings. The main purpose of the written and video "Notes" is to capture the principal issues emerging from their research relating to reconciliation, peace building and state building, the various perspectives and positions encountered vis-.-vis those issues, and to suggest areas requiring collective attention and action within the context of the Dialogue. The draft Notes would then be presented to the PG, which will be invited to endorse (with any necessary modifications) the situation analysis and to identify proposed Entry Points for the consultative process. The process of debating and negotiating the entry points can itself be an important political exercise, requiring delegates to reach consensus on a common position, while collectively identifying issues upon which they differ. Once revised and approved by the PG, elements of the Note will be disseminated throughout Somalia through various media, as well as being distributed to the wider international community. The adoption of the written and video Notes and the identification by the PG of Entry Points marks the conclusion of the preliminary research phase and the advent of the main consultative phase of the Dialogue.

Phase 3: Consultation At the outset of the main consultative phase, a WG of primary stakeholders will be formed to manage the work on each Entry Point. In consultation with the WSP affiliate teams, each WG will set its own goals, define its own agenda and develop its own programme of work. Entry Points are likely to be diverse in subject matter. Previous WSP research already suggests a number of highly controversial topics that might be proposed as Entry Points for the Dialogue:

- Constitutional issues: key aspects of a transitional charter for Somalia
- Administrative sub-division of Somalia (number of regions/provinces and their boundaries)
- Demobilisation and disarmament
- Land ownership and disputes
- Resource management and sharing (i.e. between different regions or different levels of government)
- Control and administration of contested towns such as Gaalka'yo, Kismaayo and Mogadishu)

To the extent that Entry Points may coincide with issues under discussion in the national peace process or fall within the mandate of a National Reconciliation Commission (NRC), WSP would adjust its efforts to ensure complementarity. Proposed Entry Points may also involve issues at different levels: national, inter-regional, regional or local. Although WSP's methodology emphasizes the "macro" level of engagement, circumstances may require flexibility where sensitive issues of reconciliation and peace building are concerned. It is therefore conceivable that some entry points would be sub-national in scope, relating to inter-regional socio-political systems such as Puntland, Bay/Bakool, the Juba Valley or Banadir. WSP also recognizes that certain critical local disputes may require resolution (or at least a response) before broader issues can be addressed. A researcher dedicated to conflict resolution at the local level will therefore be located in the CRD office with specific responsibility for responding to local demands and recommending courses of action to the CRD and WSP management. Each WG would begin the main consultative phase by setting achievable goals related to its Entry Point: in a variation from the conventional WSP approach, these goals are no longer limited to research products and may take a variety of forms. The WSP affiliate teams will guide then guide each WG in developing a plan of action, taking into account available time and resources. The plan of action typically includes an extension of the initial `Mapping Exercise', involving most of the same basic elements, more specifically applied to each Entry Point:

- Information gathering and analysis: the WSP affiliates are responsible for collecting available literature and documents and, where required, summarizing and/or analyzing the material for presentation to the WG.

- Identification of Stakeholders: together with the WG, the WSP affiliates engage in mapping of local, regional and national actors whose views or engagement are required for a successful outcome

- Consultations: on the basis of its `mapping exercise', each WG will develop a schedule for consultations at various levels (local, inter-regional or national) and design the format for these consultations.

- Resource Persons: On complex issues, additional expertise may be required to assist the WGs and to inform consultations. In such cases, WSP will engage local or international resource persons to accompany the process on a part-time or full-time basis. Alternatively, WSP may request its partners, via the donor support group, to arrange secondment of national or international experts to assist with the Dialogue process. It has been the practice of the WSP Somali Programme to begin each consultation with a presentation by the WSP affiliate team, together with WG and/or PG members, of a brief discussion paper and film intended to stimulate dialogue and debate around the Entry Point. Over a 3-5-day period, participants are typically encouraged to move towards discussion of possible solutions. However, the nature of the Dialogue and the approach of the WG's may require flexibility in the format of the consultations (which could conceivably vary between Entry Points). As far as possible, consultations will be designed to bring participants together from across Somalia for face-to-face sessions. Where this is not possible, audio-visual (AV), information communication technology (ICT) and the news media may be employed to assist in communication between groups. In some cases, it may also be necessary for stakeholders from different groups or regional to hold initial consultations independently of one another in order to clarify their own positions and ensure that they have local legitimacy before engaging in consultations at the inter-regional or national level. In order to ensure sustained public interest and raise key issues to the level of political decision makers, this main phase of the consultative process will take a minimum of 12 months. Throughout the main consultative phase, the WSP affiliate teams will provide organizational, logistical and secretarial support to the WGs.

In consultation with the WGs, the WSP affiliate staff will plan, organize and convene consultations; arrange travel, accommodation and meeting venues; record deliberations and decisions, and ensure follow-up actions as directed by the WGs. Where appropriate, WSP affiliate teams may also facilitate discussions. At the conclusion of the main phase, each WG will present the outcome of its activities to the PG for adoption and further action. Phase 4: Restitution and Reflection The convening of the final PG meeting signals the conclusion of the main consultative phase and the advent of the final phase. The PG will reconvene to consider and ultimately adopt the results of the process and make recommendations for further action. Depending on the situation at that time, these results might be fed back into an existing peace process, or be presented to an emerging government or transitional entity. Following the final PG meeting, and building upon its conclusions, there will be a period of restitution and reflection. This will involve:

1) Analysis and consolidation of the results of the research and dialogue process: this will include final documentation of each Entry Point in written and video form for the purposes of historical reference and sharing of `lessons learned'.

2) Identification of consensual recommendations and solutions as well as key areas where they may be further disagreement on key issues. This could perhaps result in proposals for further action.

3) Sharing of results with the Somalis who participated in the process, as well as with the broader national and international communities. The PG will also be invited to propose what steps should then be taken to integrate the findings of the countrywide consultations into whatever formal peace process may exist at that time.

Consistent with WSP activities worldwide, the final phase of the process will include both internal and external evaluations, further described below. Reconciliation and Political Facilitation It is anticipated that the process of consultation on key issues of peace building will lead some Somali communities to try to address these issues in practical political terms. In order to promote a the establishment of a durable peace, the Dialogue will, when possible and appropriate, link its outcomes to efforts to mediate disputes between various actors at the local level in support of emerging local and national governing arrangements. While WSP International does not have the technical capacity or mandate to negotiate formal peace agreements between conflicting parties, it is conceivable that one or more WG's leading the Dialogue process would include such agreements among their goals. In addition, WSP will offer the following support to promote reconciliation when and where it appears possible and appropriate:

- Identification of priority conflicts where the involved communities and leaders perceive an opportunity for constructive mediation efforts.

- Create opportunities through the process of local consultations on key peace building issues for mediation efforts between conflicting parties.

- Encourage and help mobilize local conflict resolution mechanisms to ensure Somali ownership.

- Establish appropriate links with other interested mediators, to be identified, mandated and employed by the responsible actors in new Somali institutions should they be established, and/or the international community.

- Provide substantive input and support to both local participants and mediators regarding the key issues under discussion. Through the Dialogue for Peace, WSP International will flexibly adjust its planned consultation schedule to allow time and resources to facilitate reconciliation initiatives when there is interest and agreement from Somali communities and leaders to do so, and when there is support from the international community. If such a political and social context does not exist, then the process of consultations envisioned in the main consultative phase will continue as planned. As has been the case through the WSP Somalia programme, the teams involved will at times facilitate quiet dialogue between various parties to reduce tension and encourage understanding. While this activity is difficult to quantify and often goes unannounced and unrecognized, it is a critically important part of the process. Ongoing Dissemination Throughout the entire Dialogue Process, dissemination of findings from WSP's research and consultations will take place, aiming at both local communities through innovative use of the thriving Somali media outlets, and at the international community through regular papers, videos and briefing sessions. Effective use of the media is critical to the success of the exercise. WSP International and the affiliates will develop a media strategy including print media, local and international radio, television and the Internet to ensure the engagement of as wide a segment as possible of the Somali Diaspora. One of the specific objectives of the Dialogue process is to create a sense of `national conversation', in which deliberations of one group of Somalis in one part of the country would be made available to participants in subsequent meetings elsewhere, as well as to the general public.

Practically speaking, WSP research teams would record the proceedings of each consultation in both written and audio-visual formats. During the course of the Dialogue, WSP will continue to explore the use of AV and ICT technologies in support of its methodology. An editorial/production team, led by a Reports and Information Officer, would be responsible for processing all material for dissemination throughout the process and upon its conclusion. The materials gathered in this way may also serve as a valuable resource for longer-term civic education initiatives. To ensure effective implementation of this media engagement, WSP will pursue cooperation with other, ongoing peace building and capacity building projects, including work by the BBC Somali Service and IRIN. WSP International will prepare regular summaries of key points and issues raised during Dialogue for Peace research and consultations to share with the international community.

These will be presented to the donor support group and circulated to key donors and international observers. WSP International and the PG will also maintain regular consultation with key international stakeholders in the SNRC process to brief them on the findings and lessons emerging through the process. The Somali Diaspora The work in the Somali Programme to date, as well as the work in WSP International Programmes elsewhere, has underscored the important role the diaspora often plays in peace building in a country. Somalis abroad, both near and far, are an important source of resources. They also have access to information and often access to those with hands on the levers of power in the international community. At the same time, they may or may not have a realistic view as to the realities in the country today. The influence on the situation inside the country can be considerable:
economic, political and social. Increasingly, the WSP methodology is working towards bringing the diaspora into the dialogue process. Building on work that has already been done, particular emphasis will be given to engaging the Somali expatriate business community (particularly in Dubai) in the process. The work with the diaspora will include dynamic use of information communications technology, including the Internet, but also face-to-face dialogue with Somali groups in the Middle East, Europe and North America. If resources permit, select figures from the diaspora may be invited to take part in the PG. In addition, further consideration is being given as to how best to engage the refugee community in the region in the process. The extent to which engagement with the diaspora can be developed will have an impact on the budget.


The expected outcomes of the WSP Dialogue for Peace are the following:

- A Somali public more aware of and engaged with issues concerning national reconciliation and state formation. An increased level of contact and dialogue between different social groups, including across clan lines. An increased sense of voice and ownership of the policy setting process on the part of participants, and an increased capacity to make that voice heard.

- Somali leaders and international actors with more exposure to and understanding of Somali public opinion on key issues relating to reconciliation and peace building.

- A `national conversation' initiated and experienced by Somalis inside and outside of the country that can continue under its own momentum beyond the Dialogue project, contributing to the development of a culture of peace.

- An overall reduction in the level of conflicts; an increase in local capacity to address potential conflict through non-violent means. Specific outputs that will be achieved are the following

- An overall `Note' that maps the key issues in the Somali conflict as seen from a broadly inclusive "from the ground" perspective.

- Regular reports (written and video) on the issues emerging from the dialogue process.

- A series of concrete actions, agreements and/or proposals (to be defined by the WGs) intended to advance the processes of reconciliation and state building.

- A final report and film summarizing the outcomes of local consultations and providing a "lessons learned" reference.

- Conferences and dissemination of results to national and international partners engaged in the peace process.


Given the complexities and sensitivities involved in implementing the Dialogue for Peace in Somalia, WSP International and its Somali affiliates will be required to manage a number of risks inherent in local peace building efforts.

International Support

1. Sufficient financial resources, received in advance of initiating activities, are essential to success of the programme. The risks of encountering cash flow difficulties in a programme of this nature could be a matter of `life and death' and not just programme delay.

2. In addition to the financial support required to implement the Dialogue programme, it will require solid political support from the international community. The substance of the Dialogue programme will remain highly sensitive, as peace building initiatives cannot be separated from the wider Somali political context. Lack of such international support may seriously hamper the ability to implement the programme despite conducive political and social conditions at the local level. Harmonization with the SNRC Process There is a risk that the Dialogue for Peace, which focuses on promoting bottom-up, community-based dialogue, can be perceived as competing with the current, national-level and internationally-led peace conference. To avoid this situation, a number of coordination mechanisms have been proposed above.

First, the participation of members of the IGAD Facilitation Committee and international observers on a Support Group for the Dialogue process. Second, WSP anticipates that Entry Points for substantial consultation inside Somalia will be complementary to issues under consideration in the SNRC process. WSP therefore envisions that agreements and other documents produced by the SNRC would be made available to the PG and WGs, both to raise awareness about the national peace process and to inform the Dialogue. Complementarity between the SNRC and the Dialogue could be further strengthened by the participation of selected delegates from the peace conference in the National Project Group (PG), providing guidance and support to the WSP process and feeding back input from the WSP dialogue to the peace conference. Future Somali Governing Structures The Dialogue process will need the consent and the participation of any new Somali governing institutions that may emerge the ongoing SNRC in order for the Dialogue to be an inclusive programme.

This should not pose any particular difficulty: most WSP programmes take place in post-war countries where governments and transitional institutions (such as NRCs or Truth and Reconciliation Commissions) exist, and the methodology has been successfully tried and tested under such circumstances. The formation of transitional national institutions in Somalia would allow WSP to function in a more conventional, familiar context. As in other post-war situations in which WSP-International operates, the organisation would seek the support and involvement of the new administration, particularly any sort of `reconciliation commission' should there be one. The government would be invited to nominate representatives to the PG and WGs (described above). WSP International's relationship with any transitional institutions or `reconciliation commission' would be one of substantive collaboration, rather than material support. This might include the following:

- Support to the development of the agenda and work plan of the `reconciliation commission'.

- Facilitation of the commission's participation in the Dialogue process through participation in the National Project Group (PG) and the full range of WSP's local consultations.

- Training of the commission's professional staff in participatory, community consultation and conflict resolution skills. Engagement in Somaliland The Somaliland administration has clearly articulated its position on participation in the ongoing Somalia National Reconciliation Conference, and a dialogue process in Somaliland would need to be dealt with separately with the WSP International affiliate in Hargeysa. A parallel dialogue in Somaliland, with a focus on such issues as constitutional democracy, decentralized governance, the transition from clan-based political structures to a multi-party electoral system, and efforts to improve security and promote economic recovery would seem both possible and potentially beneficial. The dialogue could be an important step toward forging a common vocabulary and ideas for functional cooperation on shared problems necessary for an eventual dialogue between the Somaliland Administration and the rest of Somalia regarding their future. From a programmatic perspective, regular meetings of the WSP Somali affiliates with WSP International Somali Programme staff are intended to ensure methodological coherence and a mutual beneficial exchange of experience on technical and substantive issues. Such exchanges are further enhanced through WSP's Methodological Review (MR) process, which brings together researchers from various WSP country projects (Guatemala, Macedonia, Rwanda, etc.) several times each year. The first international MR meeting took place in Djibouti in May 2004. Security and Safe Access So far, the careful, patient and inclusive approach of the WSP Somali Programme has enabled the organization's Somali teams to access most of the insecure areas of the country and facilitate dialogue with a broad spectrum of social and political actors. Over the past year, in anticipation of the Dialogue for Peace programme, WSP has invested further effort in maintaining open channels of communication with all Somali political actors, both inside the country and at the peace talks in Kenya. Nevertheless it remains likely there will be some areas where undertaking the Dialogue process will not be possible. Moreover should the security situation in parts of the country deteriorate, the Dialogue process would need to be reconsidered to ensure the safety of both WSP staff and Dialogue participants. Perceived Neutrality of the Dialogue One of the essential characteristics of a WSP process is that WSP International be perceived as an impartial actor, maintaining a neutral space where dialogue and trust building can take place unencumbered. To be a successful partner in facilitating dialogue between opposed political groups, WSP International must remain an acceptable interlocutor for all sides. For this reason, WSP International believes that it is not advisable in the short-term to be too closely associated with or provide material support to any particular Somali political group that would risk alienating other important political or social groups. This must include new Somali governing institutions created through the SNRC until such time that they are perceived by key political actors to be inclusive and legitimate. 9. COOPERATION In addition to project donors, members of the IGAD Facilitation Committee and international observers of the Somali peace process, WSP International will cooperate, as appropriate without placing in jeopardy the perceived neutrality mentioned above, a variety of actors in the sectors of governance, civil society and peace building:

- UN Habitat : WSP affiliates are already involved in Habitat's good governance programme and training of local councillors. Habitat and WSP have agreed to optimise their cooperate in this regard through closely coordinated activities.

- Saferworld

- Non-State Actors Forum: WSP and Saferworld are in the process of finalizing arrangements for their co-operation in the Non-State Actors Forum. The anticipated partnership included shared premises in Nairobi, management of field activities by the WSP affiliates, and a complementary participatory methodology.

- World Bank: WSP affiliates undertook both the first and second phases of the World Bank's Conflict Assessment Framework (CAF).1 The CAF experience will be invaluable to the `mapping exercise' envisioned under the Dialogue.

- UN-IRIN: WSP and IRIN have held preliminary discussions about the possibility of collaborating in audio-visual dimensions of the Dialogue, and other forms of collaboration. In conjunction with the EC Somalia Unit, WSP has already established and participated regularly in a forum with NOVIB, LPI and Saferworld since mid-2003. This group focuses on both strategic and operational harmonization of peace building efforts in Somalia, in order to promote effective and efficient use of limited aid resources. Within the context of the newly established Peace Building Forum, WSP also envisions continued collaboration with (among others):

- NOVIB (WSP and NOVIB have also discussed NOVIB's possible support with respect to the capacity-building needs of the Somali affiliates)
- Life and Peace Institute (LPI)
- UNDP 1 APD's management transition meant that the organization was unable to take part in Phase 2 of the CAF; WSP and the World Bank have discussed several times the prospects of re-engaging the Academy for Phase 3.

WSP continues to seek opportunities for co-operation with other potential partners. Through the WSP-International Nairobi office, WSP also envisions more robust engagement in the SACB and possibly the UN country team. 10. OTHER FACTORS Local Capacity Building The WSP participatory approach, which embraces a set of values (democratic, consensus-seeking, commitment to peaceful change), a methodology (participatory, research-based, flexible) and has practical goals (policy-oriented, macro, consensus-built results), has engendered amongst its national participants the desire to carry on the work beyond the life of the project. There is also a strong sense of obligation on the part of WSP International to support the continuation of the WSP approach in countries after the official project has come to a close, where the desire to do so has been clearly expressed. Hence, WSP International has been committed to establishing local affiliate organizations in Somalia. Already, the Puntland Development and Research Centre (PDRC) in Garowe, and the Academy for Peace and Development (APD) in Hargeysa, are well on their way to being established independent local NGOs. The Center for Research and Dialogue (CRD) in Mogadishu has been in the process of establishing itself as an independent entity since its initiation. During the life span of a regular WSP International programme, preparations for affiliates' futures include training, human resources development, and identification of diverse, non-WSP sources of funding, in addition to helping develop institutional processes and procedures. Additional strengthening of their ability to effectively manage both institutionally and programmatically will be an area of ongoing attention. Examples of opportunities for training and capacity building include:

- Initiation of comprehensive institutional audits and subsequently capacity building based on identified needs

- Regular training sessions in project and financial management by WSP-International staff from Nairobi and Geneva

- Participation of selected researchers in the WSP Peace Building Forum, Geneva, May 2004

- Participation of select researchers in the WSP Cross-Country Methodological Review, Djibouti, May 2004

- Workshop on Conflict Resolution and Mediation Techniques, facilitated

- Training in information and media relations, led by WSP-International Geneva staff, mid-2004 Regular opportunities for training and professional development of WSP affiliate teams will be offered throughout the course of the programme. This intensive investment in capacity building is reflected in the Dialogue budget. Gender Issues WSP takes particular care to promote gender sensitivity and empowerment through all stages of the research and dissemination phases of a project. All WSP affiliate teams include women researchers, and the changing role of women in Somali society (in political, economic and social terms) is often a subject of detailed investigation. WSP's past gender-related activities have included a focus on the "Role of Women in Post-war Reconstruction" in Puntland, and the "Impact of the War on the Family" in Somaliland. However, past experience has encouraged WSP to mainstream its approach to gender rather than to address it as a separate issue, meaning that gender considerations are reflected throughout WSP's work and will be fully integrated in the Dialogue through women's representation in the PG, WGs, consultations and research teams.


In keeping with established WSP International procedure, the completion of the Restitution and Reflection Phase will be followed by an Internal Evaluation and an External Evaluation. The Internal Evaluation is carried out by WSP International personnel and involves a questionnaire administered in both oral and written form. The evaluation focuses on the observations/reactions of participants in the conflict mapping exercise and the Dialogue itself (Project Group & Working Group members, local participants). The External Evaluation is conducted by an externally engaged consultant and includes a broader range of actors, including international organizations, donors, and the WSP team itself. Separate "lessons" reports and recommendations will be produced by the affiliate research teams for use by WSP International in future country programmes, as well as for other interested actors. WSP International is in the process of developing peace-keeping indicators to measure the qualitative impact of its programming. Monitoring progress and impact assessment is an integral part of WSP International's preliminary programme planning. Progress indicators, developed in consultation with local partners and communities are made available to the affiliate teams in a universal "toolbox" of indicators. A copy of the "toolbox" is available upon request.

Affiliate management and research teams will directly observe activities throughout the course of the programme, utilizing both documented interviews and public consultations which will remain the most important tool for external monitoring of project progress. Public consultations will also be documented in video form, which will provide qualitative feedback on local capacity to convene discuss and operate whilst also monitoring the quality of socio-political dialogue. Monitoring and impact assessment will also be the focus of regular discussions among project staff throughout the duration of the project. Regular support from WSP International Senior Advisors both in Nairobi and Geneva is also planned as part of the monitoring exercise. The observations of impact by local participants and observers will remain central source of knowledge about the project's progress, and will also be documented as part of the reporting exercise.


WSP International was established as a pilot project of the United Nations in 1994, in order to assist countries recovering from the devastating effects of violent conflict. The project was designed to complement major international assistance programmes, such as those implemented by the UN, EC, bilateral donors, and NGOs, and to prepare the ground for a more effective partnership between external actors and internal actors in the common pursuit of peace, political stabilization, rehabilitation, and development. WSP International was intended to help societies emerging from conflict to better define their problems and priorities, to set achievable goals in reconstruction, to clarify possible strategies for the future development of their countries, and to indicate where and how focused assistance can be most effective. On the basis of policy-oriented research, the project provided a forum for neutral and democratic discussion, and created mechanisms to facilitate consensus building around key rehabilitation goals and policy alternatives. At the same time, the project aimed to develop local analytical and research capacity that may be pragmatically applied to the problems of post-war recovery. WSP International programmes in Eritrea, Mozambique and Guatemala were successfully concluded during the project's pilot phase, which came to an end in December 1998. A project in Somalia was initiated in late 1996 and is still in progress. On January 1st 1999, the WSP Transition Programme was established in order to pave the way for a more permanent, expanded WSP International activity. WSP International, with its experience of over six years of field work in selected countries, is an attempt to respond to sustainable conflict resolution. It contributes to the recovery and strengthening of societies emerging from conflict by bringing together indigenous actors (including former adversaries and victims) to set priorities, build consensus and formulate responses, aided by participatory action research, and maintaining regular consultation with external aid providers. WSP International's carefully defined methodology embodies principles of local capacity and responsibility; wide-ranging participation; the better understanding of differing interests and objectives; use of relevant data and analysis in integrative decision-making; practical policy impact; and a catalytic rather than dominating role by international actors. The WSP Somali Programme began its work in the North-eastern part of Somalia in 1997, subsequently established a project in Somaliland in 1999 and set up a new activity in the Benadir region of the South in 2000. With a small liaison and coordination office located in Nairobi, the Programme is supporting field projects at various stages in the development of a typical WSP International project. WSP-Puntland has turned into a "second generation" project after the pilot activity was continued by a newly established, local organization, the Puntland Development and Research Centre (PDRC). The Somaliland project executed by the Academy for Peace and Development (APD) completed its most active phase in 2002 and WSP activities in the South/Central area through the Centre for Research & Dialogue (CRD) were the result of the conviction that a project could indeed be set up there. The WSP Somali Programme had always intended to eventually work throughout Somalia, taking its experience and lessons learned from one stable region to the next thereby contributing to democratic peace- and consensus- building.

Through direct experience and observation, the WSP International Somali programme has become increasingly conversant with the underlying issues of the Somali conflict from a variety of local, national and international perspectives. A key element in WSP International's approach is the building of local capacity. This participatory approach, which embraces a set of values (democratic, consensus-seeking, commitment to peaceful change), a methodology (participatory, research-based, flexible) and has practical goals (policy-oriented, macro, consensus-built results), has engendered amongst its national participants the strong desire to carry on the work beyond the life of the project. There is also a strong sense of obligation on the part of WSP International in Geneva to support the continuation of the WSP International approach in countries after the official project has come to a close, where the desire to do so has been clearly expressed.


WSP International partners in Somalia are:

- The Puntland Development Research Centre (PDRC), based in Garowe.
- The Academy for Peace and Development (APD), based in Hargeysa.
- The Centre for Research and Dialogue (CRD), based in Mogadishu.

Puntland Development Research Centre (Garowe) Following the conclusion of the WSP Pilot Project in Puntland under UN auspices, the Puntland Development Research Centre (PDRC) was established as in independent Somali NGO in early 2000 in order to build on WSP's foundation. In addition to continued support from WSP International, the Puntland government allocated land for construction of the Centre and contributions towards development of the PDRC arrived from members of the Puntland Diaspora. Since that time, PDRC's principal activities focused on conducting PAR research into the harmonization of legal codes (secular, traditional and shari'a in Somalia. This was conducted as part of a broader "civil protection" programme under the auspices of Diakonia and UNDP. The PDRC team has continued to closely follow the WSP methodology in its research, while introducing some pragmatic adaptations of its own to local circumstances and funding shortfalls. Recent PDRC activities supported by WSP include the following:

1) Workshop on ''Pastoralism, frankincense and fisheries in the Puntland economy". The proceedings of this workshop are to be published in late 2003 / early 2004.

2) Workshop on "Traditional legal system in Puntland". The proceedings of this workshop are to be published in late 2003 / early 2004.

3) Developing partnerships with other community groups, local NGOs and elders that have greater potential for promoting peace building and conflict resolution. Groups such as WAWA Women's Umbrella Group, GECPD, SWA, Nasteexo Women's Centre and KAALO have all been engaged. PDRC trained them the WSP methodology as a tool for initiating a useful dialogue among the sides in political or clan conflict in Puntland.

4) Workshop on peace building with the following objectives:
- Promote the search for peace.
- Contribute to the reconstruction and development efforts in peaceful regions.
- Enhance the PAR (participatory action research) methodology as a model of research and dialogue instrument for peace building and conflict resolution.

5) PDRC headed the Puntland Peace Mission which was instrumental in mediating between conflicting actors in conflict thereby promoting peace in local communities.

6) PDRC attended different workshops and training seminars in 2002/2003, collaborating with international agencies and NGOs.

7) PDRC staff met different international actors in the field and had useful consultations with them on issues around peace building, program etc. The WSP project in Puntland is acknowledged to have had considerable local impact. An external evaluation of WSP International's work in Northeast Somalia concluded: "There is a broad consensus that WSP had a very positive catalytic effect on civil society in NE. Locally, this impact is viewed as the single greatest success of the project, and for most observers in the region, this development alone made the project a success and a worthwhile investment of time and money"2. WSP's internal assessment of its work through PDRC in Puntland affirms that the organizations have achieved the following impact:

1. Create a lasting network of civil society leaders in the region, and introduce leaders from different regions and different sectors to one another;

2. Raise local awareness and understanding of the development process and community expectations of local authorities and external actors;

3. Help local communities to mobilize to meet their needs;

4. Highlight gender issues;

5. Empower intellectuals and other elements of civil society;

6. Expand local dialogue beyond the elite level; 2 Evaluation of the War Torn Societies Project in Puntland, Kenneth Menkhaus, Associate Professor Political Science, Davidson University, 2000

7. Provide an extended timeframe and a forum conducive for deliberate, critical thinking about the state of affairs in their community and strategies for improving it. Academy for Peace and Development (Hargeysa) Somaliland witnessed a change of leadership in May 2002 with the death of its president Mohamed Haji Ibrahim Egal. Fears that Egal's death would trigger violent instability in the country were allayed by a peaceful transition of power to the then vice-president, Dahir Rayaale Kahin. However, economic hardships and rising insecurity remain paramount concerns, as well as the ability of the Somaliland administration to deal effectively with such problems.

In this context, recent APD activities supported by WSP include the following:

1) Four entry point papers and four documentary films were completed and presented for approval at the final Somaliland Project Group meeting on 30-31 July 2002. During the remainder of 2002 the final research products were disseminated widely and presented to national and international actors in Somaliland/Somalia, Nairobi and Addis Ababa. The four comprehensive draft documents are on
1) Consolidating and Decentralizing Government Institutions,
2) Regulating the Livestock Economy of Somaliland,
3) The Impact of Wars on the Family and Society,
4) The Role of the Media in Political Reconstruction.

The papers themselves are being complied into a volume which will be published in the first quarter of 2004.

2) APD has, as one of its goals, the mission of serving as "an intellectual shelter". To achieve that goal, the Academy took vigorous measures to attract, organize, and engage Somalis who want to apply their profession and talent. Whenever possible, the Academy recruited these persons to join the core team in its participatory action research or to contribute to the task of promoting peace and democracy in Somaliland. Activities in this area included the following:

1. Organization of journalists, who eventually formed their association
2. Provision of training-of-trainers to police human rights
3. Organization of adult poets and competitions for young poets
4. Hosting of fellows from Britain, USA, Denmark, Belgium, and Switzerland as part of its fellowship programmme3.
5. Production of a series of documentaries that not only disseminated APD's work but also informed others about the problems and prospects for Somaliland.
6. Work with lawyers and doctors toward the development of their own associations
7. Country-wide studies on trauma, women and Islam, small arms, and other topics of interest to local and international audience. 3) In addition to WSP research, the Academy has extended its work in areas related to peace building and governance. On March 15, 2001, APD invited both the government and opposition to publicly debate issues in what became known as the Forum for Civic Dialogue. Through the debate, leaders of the opposing camps cleared their misunderstanding and differences on the referendum and on the day of voting, they affirmed endorsement of the constitution and, surprisingly, voted together in the same polling station. Over 97% of the country endorsed the constitution. Since then, the Forum for Civic Dialogue has become a regular event - indeed the only venue in which the most difficult issues could be debated with reason and civility.

* Footnote 3: A Japanese doctoral student is expected to become an Academy Fellow in two or three months

4) In the context of the 2002 Somaliland elections, the Academy played a critical advisory role to the Electoral Commission and hosted weekly meetings of Somaliland's political parties - the only all-party consultation of its kind. In July 2002, the Academy's efforts led to the signing of a 12-point accord by all but one of the parties, setting out the requirements for free and fair elections. Further, to make sure that the accords were fully implemented, the Academy proposed the establishment of an Integrity Watch Committee. All participants endorsed not only the idea, but also the members of the Committee that the Academy had proposed.

5) At the request of the House of Representative the Academy presented recommendations on how the controversial questions of district boundaries and constituencies could best be handled. APD also carried a comprehensive study of the court system, leading to detailed report and recommendations to the court.

6) The Academy played a significant role in monitoring elections and working with international as well as local monitors. The South African delegation that came for the presidential election was hosted by the Academy. Working in collaboration with South African delegation, the Academy carried out three day training-of-trainers workshop in the major cities and towns for 150 party representatives who in turn trained over 3,000 party observers at 3,000 polling stations. The Academy also worked with members of civil society organizations in voter education and election monitoring. In April 2004, an observer from the Academy took part in the monitoring of the South African Presidential election.

7) Another example of the Academy's work is the integration of audio-visual resources which the Academy's Culture and Communication Unit had pioneered and institutionalized as part of the Academy' modus operandi. In fact, use of audio-visual resources is more than an ancillary feature contributing to effective dissemination and public relations.

The Academy uses this feature as an integral component of its methodology. To date, the Academy has trained staff of the Center for Research and Dialogue in Mogadishu and the Institute for Research and Dialogue for Peace in Kigali. 3. Centre for Research and Dialogue (Mogadishu) Building on previous experience in Puntland and Somaliland, WSP International initiated the project in south central Somalia with the co-founding of a local affiliate based in Mogadishu, which became known as the Center for Research and Dialogue (CRD)4. Recent activities supported by WSP include the following:

*Footnote: 4 Originally known as the Somali Institute for Management and Research (SIMAR)

1) CRD researchers met with over 10,000 people in the areas visited including faction and political leaders, international actors, local NGOs and civil society members, business groups and traditional elders in their respective regions. CRD has established working relations with all major political groups in Mogadishu and has facilitated numerous international missions to Mogadishu.

2) CRD research staff traveled to various parts of Somalia as part of their research on issues pertaining to the rebuilding of Somalia. The research has concentrated on socio-economic, gender and political reconstruction issues. The results of this research are currently being drafted in the CRD Research Note on South / Central Somalia. It will be presented to Somali communities and their political, business, clan and religious leaders at a Somali Project Group Meeting to be held in late 2003 or early 2004. From this meeting discussion, a series of Entry Points will be jointly identified between CRD, WSP and meeting participants that will guide the future research and dialogue efforts of CRD.

3) In July 2002, a CRD audio-visual team took advantage of a training visit to Hargeisa to prepare a film (in collaboration with the Academy's audio visual team) on the restoration of peace and government in Somaliland, contrasting the situation there with developments in the south. The film included messages of goodwill from members of the Somaliland House of Elders (Guurti) to the people of southern Somalia. Screenings of the film in Mogadishu were well attended and received favorable media coverage. On a subsequent visit to Hargeysa, a member of the CRD management team was invited to meet with the Somaliland president, who expressed appreciation for CRD's work and encouragement for continued success.

4) CRD presented preliminary research findings based on the efforts described above to the Somali Diaspora in Canada, USA, Australia and parts of Europe, as well to members of the Somali Business Council in Dubai, UAE, whose involvement is vital for the rebuilding of Somali. CRD offered a set of issues / themes for continued discussion during these for and participants also viewed documentary films which had hitherto never been shown to the Diaspora.

5) CRD was also instrumental in linking the Eldoret / Mbagathi Somali National Reconciliation Conference and local communities in southern and central Somalia on discussions about demobilization, conflict resolution, land disputes and leadership issues. CRD aired a series of these video films the SNRC plenary at Eldoret and Mbagathi and again during the Somali Business community meeting in Nairobi (June 23-25, 2003).

6) CRD is gradually developing complementary activities and partnerships in parallel with the WSP exercise. The Centre has established working relations with all major political groups in Mogadishu and has facilitated numerous international missions to Mogadishu. CRD has also assisted with the production of the UNDP Human Development Report, and played a key supporting/monitoring role in a demobilization/reintegration programme managed by the Elman Peace Centre. CRD has reached an agreement in principle with the Organization of Social Studies Research in East Africa (OSSREA) to represent the organization in Somalia and is planning new activities with CONCERN, UNDP and UNICEF. 7) CRD also provided training to local Somali NGOs in inter-personal communication skills, conflict de-escalation and conflict management. CRD provides people with the skills they need to work through their own conflicts. CRD also seeks to identify methods through which local communities can assist in promoting communication and conflict management. This is accomplished through the provision of trainers whose skills affect change in individuals, institutions and communities through dispute resolution and collaborative problem solving.

Source: 18 Apr 2005

Somaliland Born Political Activist, Asma Elmi meets Cherie Blair, Wife of Tony Blair

(SL Times) - Asma Elmi, a political activist of Somaliland origin, met Cherie Blair, the wife of Tony Blair on Monday April 11, 2005, in a fundraising party for Oona King, Labor MP representing Bethnal Green and Bow.

Asma who was actively campaigning against Oona King's stand on a number of issues, including the war in Iraq, immigrants, foundation hospitals, top-up fees, not saving a fire station etc., went to the party to give Oona King a chance to convince her.

Luckily, she met Cherie Blair who is one of her heroes. She told Cherie, how she arrived in the UK from Somaliland about 9 years ago and did not obtain any handout from the government. She explained how she paid her way through University, works, paid taxes, has a mortgage, private dental cover, and volunteers her time for good causes. She wondered why some people in England kept attacking the immigrant community, and why they are supposed to be "scroungers who come here for handouts and give nothing back to the communities we live in."

Cherie Blair explained some of the issues from her perspective and allowed her picture taken with Asma.

Meanwhile, the Labor candidate Oona King, who didn't win her over yet, scheduled another meeting next Tuesday.

For further details, see inside pages "Voices From Diaspora" which will be an ongoing weekly forum by Asma Elmi. Somaliland Times is delighted to be the conduit through which our communities, both at home and in the diaspora can communicate, learn and exchange ideas. These will bring our communities closer and can eventually lead to Somaliland recognition.

The following is Asma's explanation of her first encounter with Cherie Blair. She writes:

"Until this evening I believed I had the best laid out plan for my fellow Somalis in Bethnal Green & Bow constituency to follow. I had it all figured out. My plan would be executed with military precision. I have already spent several weekends in putting everyone's name and telephone number into a database on my laptop, telling them their word wasn't enough. To make sure they'd vote for my man I was going to phone each and every person on the election day, 5th May, and make sure they got to the polling station. They agreed I could phone them.

But that was before I met Cherie Blair. Now am so torn. So confused. I do not know what am doing anymore. In addition to my day job as an IT consultant, I volunteer my time for several projects in Tower Hamlets. I am involved with AIDS/HIV and Social Housing projects but the voluntary work that I enjoy the most is teaching children mathematics. I love it. I tell children about Marie Curie, am obsessed with Madame Curie. Early this evening I was at a youth centre to meet children, who needed help with maths when I found out the defending Labor MP for Bethnal Green & Bow, Oona King was at a fundraising party in a nearby restaurant and a friend I was with was invited. He invited me along. I have spent a week and half campaigning vigorously against Oona King but I go to the party anyway. I have been campaigning for George Galloway not because I think he is the savior this constituency has been waiting for. Far from it. But I wanted Somali voters to protest against the war in Iraq and also help reduce the huge Labor majority. And I thought it would be fun. I wanted us to keep Labor out of Bethnal Green & Bow for 5 years. To teach them a lesson; for Foundation Hospitals, for top-up fees, for not saving our fire station. I long ago convinced myself that Labor will win the election. If I thought they were in danger of losing I would be campaigning for Oona King.

At the function, I met Oona King and straight away told her I was campaigning against her but was willing to change my mind if she could convince me. As a person, she is very nice and I feel very bad at the way some sections of the community have been treating her lately. It's despicable behavior and there is no excuse for it. Fortunately Somalilanders have had no part in this ugly behavior. She is wearing what I think is a traditional Bangladeshi dress. There is a band playing Bangladeshi music. The sad thing is, there are hardly any Bangladeshis in the room.

Oona took me to meet Cherie Blair who until that moment I didn't know was in the room. I said to Cherie: Hi, am Somali. She said she thought so. That made me very happy. People often guess wrongly that am Ethiopian or Sudanese. I couldn't believe I was chatting with her. It is not everyday someone meets one of their heroes. I rate Cherie very highly. For me, she is right up there with Marie Curie. I told Cherie that I arrived in the U.K from the republic of Somaliland about 9 years ago. That I have never obtained social security benefits of any description. I even paid my way through university. I like my work. Pay my taxes. Have a mortgage. Have private Health and Dental cover provided by my employer. I volunteer my time for good causes. I said I couldn't understand why some people in this country kept attacking the immigrant community and why we are supposed to be scroungers who come here for handouts and give nothing back to the communities we live in. I don't know what I expected her to say but I couldn't stop talking. Cherie explained to me how top-up fees are meant to work, explained it in a way that I had not heard before which made me think perhaps I did not know enough about it and should find out more. The highlight of the evening for me was having my picture taken with Cherie.

My friend later told me that all the while I was talking with Cherie Blair about 20 special branch guys were hovering all over me, whispering in each other's ear and pointing to my lap. I was holding my laptop bag on my lap and was too excited to notice I was fiddling with it non-stop.

Oona hasn't won me over yet but am meeting her again next Tuesday. There is a good chance she will. Part of me hopes she doesn't succeed as that would leave me with one massive headache. How am I ever going to explain it to the Somali community? I wish I hadn't got myself into this trouble in the first place."

Starvation claims 10 in Somaliland - officials

Asia Intelligence Wire, April 20, 2005

BORAMA (Awdal Region)--At least 10 Somalilanders have died of starvation in Seylah District, Borama region in the past week owing to severe drought that has hit most parts of declared Republic of Somaliland confirmed Tuesday.

Hundreds of thousands are also suffering the effects of the drought, with many moving to less affected areas along the Ethiopia-Somali border as well as urban towns such as Las Anod, Bosaso, Garowe and Galkaayo.

According to a joint press statement issued by Borama governor Osman Dinbill, the Somaliland Red Crescent, traditional and religious leaders, the dead include four women and two children, some of whom collapsed and died en route to Borama town to seek food and water.

The leaders indicated that the death toll would rise if the affected communities do not receive emergency assistance in the coming days.

They noted that sufficient humanitarian assistance has not reached the affected areas since the drought was first reported in January 2004.

According to relief group Save the Children-US, the pastoral communities in the most affected areas have lost over 50 per cent of their sheep and goats, 70 per cent of their cattle and 35% of the camels due to the drought.

The latest inter-agency nutritional assessment in Sool, Borama and Todgheer shows that malnutrition rates among children was at its highest in recent years.

"Failure of the long rains means no quick recovery is expected and the affected areas urgently need relief and rehabilitation assistance," said an official of the National Emergency Response and Disaster Research Agency (NERAD) based in Borama.

World Food Programme, Save the Children, Oxfam GB, UNICEF and HAVOYOCO, a local youth organization, are already in some affected parts providing support ranging from water and food distribution to immunization and water sources rehabilitation.

Somalilan has for the last four years experienced partial or total rain failure and the prolonged dry spell has led to what is believed to be the worst drought to hit the country in many years, eroding the asset base of the predominantly pastoral population and traditional coping mechanisms.

Source: Famine Early Warning System Network (FEWS NET) Date: 30 Mar 2005. FEWS Greater Horn of Africa Food Security Bulletin 30 Mar 2005:

Severe food insecurity in pastoral areas


The March to May period constitutes an important rainfall season for several agricultural, agro-pastoral and pastoral areas, especially in the equatorial sector of the Greater Horn of Africa (GHA), and the impact of these rains has far reaching food security implications, well beyond the rainy season. At present, there is already a severe food insecurity crisis in many pastoral areas, one which requires several years of good rainfall for the recovery of both livestock herds and viable livelihoods. The recent IGAD Climate Prediction and Application Center (ICPAC) consensus climate outlook forecast for March, April and May (MAM) 2005 for the GHA indicates that the key crop producing areas in the equatorial sector have a 75% likelihood of receiving normal to above normal rainfall, which could result in favorable harvest prospects. However, the ICPAC probability forecast for most pastoral areas indicates a 75% tendency towards normal to below normal rainfall, which does not augur well for pastoralists. If realized, the most likely outcome of the forecast would mean the extension of drought conditions to yet another season in some pastoral zones and halting of the ongoing recovery in other zones. Potentially poor rainfall, together with other underlying causes of food insecurity such as poverty and conflict would likely worsen the already heightened food insecurity of many pastoral populations. This issue of GHA Food Security Bulletin attempts to put the March to May rainfall forecast in context to support contingency planning, preparedness and mitigation in the region. The report recommends that governments and partners use the various scenarios developed under the current climate outlook, especially in countries already experiencing acute food insecurity, as inputs into serious contingency planning processes, which result in active efforts to both prepare for potential renewed crises as well as efforts to mitigate the potential impact of poor rains especially in pastoral and marginal agricultural areas.


The March to May period is a major rainfall season for many pastoral and agricultural areas of the equatorial sector of GHA (see Fig 1.a). Figure 1.d illustrates the different rainfall periods in the GHA. Figure 1a highlights the pastoral areas of the GHA, which in general are currently the most food insecure areas. Figurer 1.b shows the long-term (1920-1980) rainfall pattern for the season. Figure 1c shows the anticipated divergence of rainfall amounts with respect to normal rains shown in Figure 1.b for different areas of the GHA region, and which represents the most likely precipitation scenario for the March -- May period.

The consensus seasonal forecast for the March-May 2005 provided by the IGAD Climate Prediction and Application Center (ICPAC) on March 4 is based on an ensemble of statistical and ocean-atmospheric models. These models take into account the recent and current sea surface temperatures over the Pacific Ocean and off the Indian Ocean. The consensus forecast indicates enhanced probabilities of normal to above normal rainfall conditions in areas shaded in green in Figure 2.a (these areas are also marked II); above normal to normal rainfall in blue shaded areas (marked IV) and normal to below-normal rainfall conditions in yellow shaded areas (marked I, III and V). These probabilistic forecasts suggest the likely tendency of the rainfall amounts during the March to May period. As the forecast is relevant only to the aggregate three month period and over relatively large areas, significant and localized variability in the amount and distribution of rainfall could occur within this 120-day period. FEWS NET translated the ICPAC forecast probabilities into relevant rainfall quantity scenarios using its Agro-climatological Tool/Forecast Interpretation Tool (FACT/FIT). Figure 2.b, an output of the FACT/FIT, depicts locations that have enhanced probabilities for favorable maize growing conditions, shaded in grey and blue, during the forecast period. The assumption used here is that a minimum of 300 mm of rainfall is required during the season for most short-cycle, drought-tolerant varieties. As a result, if that amount of rainfall is actually received and well distributed, areas with favorable production prospects for short-cycle maize would include most of Burundi and Rwanda, western Ethiopia, the central and south Rift, coastal and southern Kenya, central and northern Tanzania and most of Uganda. Drought-tolerant sorghum varieties would likely do well in all those areas as well as in southern Somalia.

Similarly, a threshold of 150 mm rainfall was used for pastoralist areas to develop a scenario for identifying areas that were unlikely to receive at least this threshold during the March-May 2005 period (Figure 2.c). This threshold represents the minimum amount of rainfall during the March to May season required for viable pastures. According to this analysis, parts of central and northern Somalia, the eastern part of the Somali Region of Ethiopia, parts of northeastern and northwestern Kenya and parts of southern Sudan have a high probability of not receiving adequate rains for viable pastures. If this happens, the ongoing recovery of pastoral populations in these areas would be halted, resulting in significant deteriorations in an already fragile food security situation and commensurate increasing emergency assistance requirements during the dry season (June to September).

It is important to note that these scenarios assume timely onset of the season and good rainfall distribution during the season, which is not captured in the ICPAC Climate Outlook Forecast. An attempt was made to forecast the expected rainfall distribution based on previous years of similar rainfall distribution (1964 and 1995). During these years, rainfall occurred mainly in March, tapering off in April and May. Although no single year will be exactly the same, there is increased likelihood that this season's rainfall could also be poorly distributed in time and space as it has been in the past. It is worth noting that significant parts of the northern and northeastern parts of Somalia (including the Sool and Sanaag Plateaus), Eritrea and Djibouti, normally receive scant rains between March and May, and therefore are not likely to be seriously affected by rainfall during this period. Given the specific GHACOF rainfall forecast for the MAM period, the risk of flooding also exists. But this risk is low, with the exception of the Western Lake Region of Kenya in the most likely scenario. Because the chances for very heavy rainfall in eastern Ethiopia's highlands are weak, the risks of severe flooding in the Shabelle River in Somalia are also low based on the current seasonal forecast. The assumption being made for the low risk of floods is that the ICPAC forecast would be realized and rainfall would be evenly distributed during the season.


This bulletin provides an early warning based on the seasonal rainfall forecast recently issued by ICPAC. The analysis presented above focuses on the most likely scenario, but the ramifications of the worst case scenario, in other words more serious drought and flooding should also be considered. The impacts of the March-May rains are important for crop production as well as pasture conditions. More importantly they will have a significant food security impact later in the year. The following conclusions and recommendations have been developed based on the analysis presented above:

1. Given that there is a high risk that the 2005 March -- May season will not ameliorate the current food security conditions in many current hot spots of the GHA, national governments and their partners should initiate contingency planning processes to prepare for potential food security crises over the coming year. The information provided here can be used as an input into developing more comprehensive scenarios outlining the potential magnitude of food insecurity, the estimated population affected, their geographical location, etc. To be effective, contingency planning must go further and result in concrete actions to prepare for and mitigate the impacts of potential droughts or floods. FEWS NET can assist interested contingency planners, including developing with them food security scenarios based on various rainfall scenarios.

2. Despite the improvement currently observed in some areas such as the Sool and Sanaag Plateaus in Somalia, pasture and water conditions, as well as livestock productivity in pastoral and agro-pastoral areas remain precarious. Below normal rainfall would induce distress migrations towards limited areas with relatively more abundant pasture and water in the Karamojong and the Somali Clusters. Large concentrations of livestock on small areas would degrade the environment and result in conflict over natural resources. Already, livestock from parts of Djibouti, Ethiopia and Somalia are congregating in the costal areas of Djibouti, which apart from having some pasture have very low carrying capacity. Monitoring of livestock productivity (body conditions, calving rates and milk supply) in pastoral areas including in areas where short-term recovery is expected, will be essential to determine needed interventions. Contingency planning in the countries is especially important to prepare for potential resurgence of severe emergency conditions in these areas. In addition activities to mitigate the potential impact of continued drought, such as pre-positioning of veterinary drugs and rehabilitation of water sources such as boreholes, should be implemented.

3. Access to markets and affordable food prices remain key determinants of food security for a significant population in GHA. Considering that food prices are influenced by domestic production, most of which depends on rain-fed agriculture, there is need for national governments to encourage domestic and cross-border trade of food commodities from surplus to deficit areas. Governments could use market information to intervene with relief aid where and when access to food is compromised by rising prices (or worsening terms of trade between livestock and cereals) beyond affordable levels, particularly for the poor households. Government, donors and relief organizations should also use market information for domestic and triangular purchases within the region, thus enhancing local economies and improving regional food security.


Vedasto Rutachokozibwa / Epitace Nobera Famine Early Warning Systems Network (FEWS NET) E-mail: /

Gideon Galu / Hussein Gadain United States Geological Survey (FEWS NET/USGS) E-mail: / Dr Wilbur Ottichilo

Regional Center for Mapping of Resources for Development (RCMRD) E-mail:,

Mehari Tesfayohannes; Desert Locust Control Organization, Nairobi Email:

Prof. Laban Ogallo / Zachary Atheru; Drought Monitoring Centre -- Nairobi (DMC-N) E-mail:

World Food Programme (WFP) -- East and Central Africa Bureau, Kampala E-mail:;

Prof. Jerry Stuth / Robert Kaitho Livestock Early Warning Systems (LEWS/GLCRSP) E-mail:,

For feedback contact: Email:

Crisis Education Project Profile-Somaliland

- Project title: Support to Primary School Education
- Organization implementing: CARE International in Somaliland
- Scope/geographical coverage: Hargeisa, Somaliland (19 schools)
- Type of programming: Enhancing the quality of formal primary school education
- Target group/beneficiaries: Direct beneficiaries include primary students with a special focus on girls, teachers, school administrators and communities.
- Stage: Crisis (long-term instability and IDPs)
-Environmental context matrix of Somaliland (Hargeisa)
Environmental context of program


Over the past two years, the population of Northwest Somalia has increased dramatically due to the large number of returnees arriving in Somaliland from the camps in Ethiopia.

Most, if not all, of the returnee families were able to send their children to school in the camps and there is the expectation that educational facilities will also be available in Somaliland. This has been demonstrated by the widespread community support for Koranic schools. A 2002 assessment of available facilities in Hargeisa, carried out by CARE and the MoE, revealed that 70% of the students learn while sitting on the floor, while many schools teach classes in shifts, due to the limited numb er of usable classrooms. Approximately one-third (36%) of school-aged children are not attending school, either do to lack of facilities or lack of family resources. In the 21 government- managed primary schools in Hargeisa town, there are an estimated 327 teachers, with an approximate student population of 21,307 students. This represents a student/teacher ratio of 66:1.


Somalis are a rather homogeneous ethnic group from a cultural-linguistic point of view, stretching across at least four countries in the Horn of Africa: Somalia, Ethiopia, Kenya and Djibouti. Their main internal social differentiation is on the basis of clans and sub- clans, but even within the clan system, most clans and sub-clans are transnational. In this system, lacking a hierarchical chain of authority or anything resembling the state or a judiciary, social relationships are defined in terms of kinship based on descent from a common ancestor. In Somali society, as in most pastoral societies, kinship is traced through patrilineal descent. The genealogies, which traditionally both Somali boys and girls have to learn by heart as part of their initiation to adulthood, define an individual's place in society as well as political relations.


In terms of average income, Somaliland is, economically, one of the world's least developed countries and its economic performance is heavily dependent on the regional prices of livestock. Poverty is the dominant theme in this largely subsistence economy, which hinged on the vagaries of the rainfall, trapped by extreme social conservatism and threatened by uncertainty of peaceful existence as a result of centuries-old clan-based discord and rivalry.

The cash economy of the country is dominated by the exports of livestock by the trade from Ethiopia in the stimulant leafy shrub, Khat, fruits, vegetables, and coffee, and the import of manufactured goods.

Political Relationships

Somaliland, a self-declared republic that was formerly the northwest section of Somalia, has in recent years found a measure of stability after the years of faction-based civil war that has killed thousands of Somalis. The President of Somaliland is Dahir Riyale Kahin.

Program description: Support to Primary School Education (Phase 1) Target Group The target groups include communities and school administrators to provide structurally sound, sanitary facilities and classroom environments that promote learning to students in the targeted schools in Hargeisa.

Material/Physical Resources

Schools are rehabilitated to provide sound, sanitary facilities and classroom environments that promote learning. Additionally fences have been put around to school to restrict access to school grounds. Without a proper fence, schools and even classrooms have been invaded by returnees or unemployed youths who do not attend schools, greatly disrupting learning, as well as discouraging parents from sending their girl children to school. Fencing and gates help to create a secure, peaceful environment for learning, particularly for girls. Desks and chairs for teachers as well as desks and benches for students were also provided as well as textbooks and teaching kits, which included items such as world maps and globes, mathematical charts, blackboard rulers and chalk, and stationary items, were also distributed.

Financial and Human Resources

Funding provided by donor agencies with communities providing in-kind support. Communities contributed an average of 11% of the rehabilitation costs of schools. CARE worked with communities and other stakeholders during the rehabilitation process, with Community Education Committees playing a key role in the selection and supervision of contractors undertaking rehabilitation work.

Community Mobilization

Capacity building for CECs focused on providing training on community mobilization, DELTA (development, empowerment and leadership teams in action), strategic planning and financial management. To enhance the long-term sustainability of schools, the project work with CECs, school administrators and the (defacto) Ministry of Education to identify viable income generating activities. Potential income generating activities include literacy, numeracy and business skills training for adults, and schools will be encouraged to offer services targeted at women heads of households. Training is also provided to CECs on how to develop effective fundraising strategies, and how to identify and target potential sponsors, such as businesses who might be interested in providing either cash or in kind support Training In-service teachers participated in workshops that sought to improve the teaching content and methodologies.

The project worked with teachers in both a workshop and on-the- job setting, and the content of workshops were based on an in-class assessment of teachers.

Education officials were also included in capacity building activities that sought to improve their ability to provide supervisory support to teachers in the target school and the education sector as a whole. Specific training topics included computer applications, management, supervisory skills, finance and administration, strategic planning and policy development. The application of skills and knowledge gained during these workshops resulted in the development of strategic plans and policy guidelines for the education sector, as well an increased level of monitoring by the education authorities of teachers' performance and school enrolment.

Programming interventions (impact and effectiveness) matrix Category

Effectiveness of programming interventions


CARE established and strengthened the capacity of 18 community education committees (CECs) and (de facto) Ministry of Education officials as well as rehabilitated 18 schools. The increased sense of community ownership and the physical rehabilitation of schools resulted in an increase in enrolment of both boys and girls, with a total of 21,307 students benefiting from improved educational facilities by the end of the project. This represented an increase in the number of targeted students of 7,307 or 52% over the original target.


The project worked with communities and the (de facto) Ministry of Education to establish CECs that would have responsibility for overseeing activities in the targeted schools. Capacity building training was provided to CECs on their roles and responsibilities, health and nutrition, and school management. The CECs played a key role in the preparation of the schools' development plans, as well as the mobilization of communities' contribution either in cash or in kind. In addition, CECs participated in the selection and supervision of contractors undertaking rehabilitation activities, and they made inspection visits to ensure that the children maintain basic personal hygiene. Of the 18 CECs that CARE worked with during the project, approximately 61% were actively involved in project activities, while the remaining 39% played only a limited role. This was in part due to the rather high turnover rate of CEC members in many of the committees.

Overall Program Effectiveness

Teacher training components requiring additional training include the effective use of available teaching tools, increased understanding of how children learn, effective disciplinary methods, and handling a large number of students. Furthermore, raising teachers' awareness on issues such as gender, as well as how to identify and work with students suffering from post traumatic stress syndrome linked to civil war, would enhance their effectiveness in the classroom.

To facilitate the long-term sustainability of teacher training activities, CARE is coordinating with education officials to identify training priorities. It is anticipated that the training will focus on material development, teaching methodologies and child development. Below is a list of potential training topics:

- Development of teaching aids and materials
- Child psychology and development
- Teacher effectiveness training
- Gender sensitivity
- Children with special needs

Phase II of the Support to Primary School Education is also advocating with education official to raise awareness on the special needs of slow learners. The project seeks to promote an increase in the number of female teachers as a way of promoting girl-child education. Similarly, positive experiences with girl education, such as separate classrooms for girl-students, will be explored and tested where possible. These advocacy efforts will not form a separate component, but rather will be integrated into project activities where appropriate.

Source: Food Security Assessment Unit (FSAU)Date: 13 Apr 2005

Monthly Food Security Report for Somalia 13 Apr 2005


Political Developments: The Somali Federal Transitional Government's plan to relocate to Baidoa and Jowhar sparked civil insecurity and political tensions within Bay and Bakool region during the third week of March. This civil insecurity created internal displacement and problems of water, pasture and market accessibility. Moreover, it disrupted humanitarian access to the region and crucial land preparation activities for the Gu 2005 season.

Climate: Normally, March is the last and harshest part of the long dry Jillaal season. This year, however, light rains fell over many parts of the country during this month, thus ensuring a fairly mild Jilaal season in many areas. These early rains, locally known as Todob or Jar, indicate that the Gu 2005 rains may start early and will likely be normal.

Markets: Both the Somali and Somaliland Shilling exchange rates remained stable against the dollar through March, i.e. approximately 15,400 SOSH/US$ and 6,200 SLSH/$US. Imported commodity prices also remained fairly stable, as they are closely linked to exchange rate fluctuations. Imported commodity prices may increase in inland markets, however, if the coming Gu rains result in impassable roads and increased transportation costs.

Nutrition: The sentinel sites surveillance in Lower Nugal indicate an overall decline in levels of malnutrition while the rates in Sool plateau stabilized at critical levels. The malnutrition rate in northeastern Somalia is within the usual range despite the multiple shocks encountered by the population. High numbers of severely malnourished children continue to be admitted to the TFC in Belet-Hawa, Gedo.

Agriculture: In the northwest, maize crop planting is almost complete and land preparations for long cycle sorghum varieities has started. In Shabelle Valley, off-season maize production is at different stages of growth and harvesting is expected to continue through mid-April. In Juba Valley, off-season crop conditions are extremely poor due to dry weather and high infestation of insects and disease. Land preparations for Gu season have begun in most agricutlural areas in the south in response to light rains received in March. If the Gu rains start on time, some remaining off-season crops in Juba and Shabelle maybe spoiled.

Livestock: Water and pasture conditions improved in many parts of the country following the onset of the early Todob and Jar rains. Livestock migration from dry areas to wetter areas is reported throughout the country, as well as calving and kidding of livestock and increased milk availability. The total number of sheeps/goats exported fell and their price declined in March, as expected due to the end of the peak Hajj season.

Emerging Regional Issues:

- Light rains fell in the northeastern pastoral Humanitarian Emergency areas, improving water and pasture conditions. However, despite the rains destitution and pastoral vulnerability remains high in the region.

- Renewed clan fighting in parts of the Central Regions exacerbated the critical food security situation and resulted in a further loss of lives and assets and disrupted trade in Hobyo and Harardere districts. Most of the affected region did not receive rain in March and reports indicate that water shortages persist due to dry water catchments and poorly functioning boreholes.

- Shabelle river level rose gradually during the last dekad of March following rains in Ethiopia, thus easing irrigation operations. The water level of the Juba river, however, remained low making gravity and pump irrigation difficult.

Source: Apr-17-2005.

In Defense of

Awdalnews website is one of the best Somaliland websites and has consistently stood in defense of Somaliland's independence and dignity, especially in the times when our country really needed a website for that purpose. For instance I remember a time when virtual warfare was raging between certain famous Somaliland websites, this virtual warfare took the form of nasty and often aggressive language articles, and worst of all these feuds took place at a time when Somaliland enemies were carrying out terrorist attacks on Somaliland soil, at that time many Somalilanders in the Diaspora were fed up with this internal bickering between Somaliland websites so they turned to Awdalnews for their news from Somaliland.

It was at that time that Awdalnews rose to prominence because it offered a different tone in its news reporting, it always kept the eyes on the price, it always looked at the big picture such as our International recognition struggle and the development of Somaliland etc, Awdalnews stayed away from the divisions along party lines that was increasing on many Somaliland websites day by day. Many are the brilliant Awdalnews articles speaking in defense of the nation against terrorist and others wishing our country harm.

All this I have in mind when I now turn to the subject of SNM and the Awdalnews Editorial. In my opinion Awdalnews choose a bad time (1) and a bad venue (the internet-2) to launch what it called "a search for the truth.

(1) The timing is wrong because Somaliland is not an internationally recognized state at this time hence the last thing we need to do is to divide our people along clan lines or any other lines, unity should be of paramount importance at all times but especially this time. For us to divert our energy to past struggles between us when we are facing a common struggle today seems rather odd to me and it makes me wonder what Awdalnews is up to here? (2) The venue is wrong because a topic of this seriousness and this magnitude should be discussed face to face between people who have first hand knowledge of these issues (historians, university professors, human rights activists, SNM commanders, clan leaders of different clans who were around in those days etc) and not on the internet where any idiot who wishes to inflame this issue and create animosity can do so by sending insulting articles to different websites claiming to be somebody he or she is not.

The bottom-line is this, I don't think the Awdalnews management is anti-SNM nor do I think any Somalilander is Anti-Awdalnews what I sense however from Awdalnews management and other Somalilanders is the quest to write a Somaliland history that is comprehensive and which does not only focus on the SNM struggle and legacy but also talks about other struggles (Gobanimodoonki of the 1960's for instance), I think Awdalnews was wrong for choosing to belittle the SNM struggle or smear it, that is not the way to win your brothers support for what you are trying to do. I was part of SNM and I have read SNM related history thoroughly and I say with confidence that SNM had an outstanding record when it comes to not perpetrating revenge acts, this is well documented and I can provide those sources to Awdalnews or anyother one who is interested in the history of SNM and the wars of the 1980's-1990's.

On the other hand it must be said to many who have SNM nostalgia that we currently have Somaliland soldiers in eastern Somaliland, these soldiers who belong to all Somaliland's clans are defending Somalilanders from an external enemy, hence they are the current mujahids, they are the current heroes and these current heroes need our full attention. The last thing they need from us is to hear our comfortable bickering from our nice chairs and computers in the Diaspora. Furthermore I think Awdalnews and the people who responded to the editorial are not aware of the fact that the vast majority of Somalilanders in the Diaspora are completely uninterested in this whole issue, what we, the vast majority of Somalilanders care about is Somaliland's international recognition struggle and the well being and prosperity of our country and people.


Let's support our troops in Sool region, let's support our people who are currently suffering from a drought and hunger in the coastal parts of Awdal region, the southern parts of Hargeysa region and the Dhahar district of Sanaag. Let us not loose focus of what matters. History is being written as we speak, let's focus on today and deal with our past when we have succeeded in the present!

Maxamed Cabdillahi --

Somalia: Report on Female Genital Mutilation (FGM) or Female Genital Cutting (FGC)

Released by the Office of the Senior Coordinator for International Women's Issues

The most common form of female genital mutilation (FGM) or female genital cutting (FGC) practiced in Somalia is Type III (commonly referred to as infibulation and in Somalia, the "Pharaonic circumcision").

Eighty percent of all genital procedures for women and girls consist of this form which is the most harmful form. The less radical or Type I (commonly referred to as clitoridectomy and in Somalia sometimes called "sunna") is practiced mainly in the coastal towns of Mogadishu, Brava, Merca and Kismayu. The procedures leave a lifetime of physical suffering for the women.

Virtually all Somali women are subjected to one of these procedures. A recent estimate by the United Nations Children's Fund (UNICEF) places the percentage of the women in Somalia who have undergone this procedure at 90 percent. Earlier estimates had placed the percentage at 96-98 percent. A 1983 national survey by the Ministry of Health found a prevalence of 96 percent. In October 1999, CARE International carried out a safe motherhood survey in Somaliland (northwest Somalia) to determine, among other things, the prevalence of FGM/FGC. It found the practice to be universal in this area of Somalia among the women sampled, with 91 percent undergoing Type III and nine percent Type I. These suggest that it is well established in all areas of the country and in most, if not all, the ethnic groups. It is commonly performed on girls as young as six or seven years of age.

Attitudes and Beliefs:
Many Somalis mistakenly view this procedure as a religious obligation. The concept of family honor is also involved. It is carried out to ensure virginity. Because virginity of daughters and family honor are related, it is believed that the family's honor will also remain intact if the daughters are subjected to this procedure. Women who have not undergone this procedure may be thought of as having loose morals. A girl who has not undergone it will result in less bridewealth for her father and brothers.

There are several other rationales expressed for the practice in Somalia. Some men claim the artificial tightness heightens sexual enjoyment. Some say the smoothness of the scar is esthetically beautiful.

The CARE study showed a difference in attitude toward this practice between rural and urban women. A higher number of urban women than rural women felt there was nothing good about the practice. Forty percent of all women interviewed felt there was nothing bad about the practice. Eleven percent of those interviewed did not want their daughters to undergo this procedure.

Type I:
Type I is the excision (removal) of the clitoral hood with or without removal of all or part of the clitoris. This is the mildest form.

Type III:
Type III is the excision (removal) of part or all of the external genitalia (clitoris, labia minora and labia majora) and stitching or narrowing of the vaginal opening, leaving a very small opening, about the size of a matchstick, to allow for the flow of urine and menstrual blood. The girl or woman's legs are generally bound together from the hip to the ankle so she remains immobile for approximately 40 days to allow for the formation of scar tissue.

In the cities, these procedures generally take place in a medical facility under anesthesia. If the operation is performed in a rural village, an old woman excisor performs the procedure without anesthesia. The excisors in Somalia, unlike in some other African countries, are not highly respected. They do not wield influence or have much status within the traditional power structure.

Outreach Activities:
Despite the fact that the practice is so entrenched in Somali culture and custom, women began working to eradicate the practice as early as 1977. In that year, the Somali Women's Democratic Organization (SWDO) was formed. It became the implementing agency appointed by the now collapsed government of Siad Barre for the abolition of this practice.

To eradicate the dangers and damage caused by this procedure as performed by traditional excisors, the procedure was encouraged to be carried out in a hospital. The government supported an alternative method, which was to prick the clitoris to obtain a drop of blood. It was hoped that this method would eventually replace the more dangerous Type III. However, this strategy did not work as had been hoped and the practice was eventually banned in all government hospitals. In 1988, the government launched a campaign to eradicate the practice completely on health and religious grounds. The campaign maintained the operation was dangerous to women's health and not called for in the Quran. It was even pointed out that it would not guarantee virginity.

A center was set up in the Somalia Academy of Arts and Sciences in the early 1980s to conduct studies on this practice. A Swedish Agency, SAREC, funded this. The center carried out research into the physical, psychological and sociological aspects of the practice. The Institute of Women's Education (IWE) was set up in 1984 by the Department of Non-Formal Education of the Ministry of Education. The Institute focused on improving women's living conditions by improving their income, health and nutrition. It focused on improving female literacy and organizing women's groups among female community leaders. The latter were to encourage activities for rural development that included participation of women.

The IWE commenced activities in the mid-1980s against the practice of FGM/FGC. This was included entirely in a general health program called the Family Planning Project. These activities were not very successful, however, because they did not receive money from the government and the government had not passed any legislation outlawing this practice. In 1987, SWDO and the Italian Association for Women and Development (AIDOS) founded an eradication project in Somalia. AIDOS provided technical and methodological support and SWDO was responsible for the content and direction of the project. SWDO approached the practice as a health issue. It feared an approach based on female rights (such as that of sexual freedom) would surely fail.

SWDO organized a campaign that produced information packets including audio-visuals for women, young people, religious leaders and medical personnel in the local language. It also provided workshops for trainers and held seminars for women and even organized a poetry contest on why the practice was dangerous to women and girls. An international conference was held in Mogadishu in 1989 on "Female Circumcision: Strategies to Bring about Change." The Somali Revolutionary Party, which was in power at that time, gave moral support to the project.

However, once Siad Barre's Somali Revolutionary Party was overthrown and the country thrown into turmoil in 1991, the technical basis for the campaign was destroyed. Some international agencies have recently begun anti-FGM/FGC educational campaigns. These campaigns have attempted to enlist women and religious leaders in the fight against the practice. Religious leaders have, in some instances, been persuaded to tell their adherents this practice is a cultural, not a religious practice.

Since 1996, UNICEF in Somalia has supported a series of awareness raising seminars attended by women's grassroots organizations, religious leaders, politicians, health professionals and other representatives of the population. In 1997, the Government of Somaliland, in collaboration with UNICEF and other agencies, organized a National Seminar on FGM/FGC. The outcome was to establish an intersectoral committee at a national level and a regional task force to develop policies on eradication of this practice.

UNICEF sponsored workshops in Mogadishu, Galgaddud and Mudug regions in 1999-2000. At a workshop held in Hargeisa on April 18-19, 2000, the participants developed a Somaliland Declaration calling on the Government and the people of Somaliland to eradicate this practice in the country. In collaboration with Al Azhar University, Cairo, UNICEF organized an FGM/FGC study tour for seven sheiks and two national officers from September 20-October, 2000. UNICEF was then to begin a "training the trainers: anti-FGM/FGC program."

In 2000, the U.S. Embassy provided funds through its Democracy and Human Rights Fund (DHRF) to the Voice of Midwives Association for a campaign to raise public awareness of the harmful effects of this practice. A grant of US$10,173 was provided for meetings and discussions throughout Somaliland, incorporating the use of drama and other traditional techniques. In 1998, the Embassy provided US$20,000 from DHRF to UNICEF to assist its project of building consensus against FGM/FGC in four communities in Somaliland.

Legal Status: Although the former government's policy on this practice was for its complete eradication, this policy was never translated into law. There is no national law specifically prohibiting FGM in Somalia. There are provisions of the Penal Code of the former government covering "hurt", "grievous hurt" and "very grievous hurt" however, which might apply.

In November 1999, the Parliament of the Puntland administration unanimously approved legislation making the practice illegal. There is no evidence, however, that this law is being enforced.

Prior to the country's relatively recent upheaval, there appeared to be a good beginning at creating some type of relief from this practice with a number of outreach organizations in existence. The work of these organizations, however, was disrupted during the fighting.

There is also no national judicial system or central authority. Some regions have established local courts rendering judgments based on traditional and customary law, Islamic Shari'a law, the Penal Code of the defunct Siad Barre government or some combination of the three. It is unlikely such a system would uphold any anti-FGM/FGC relief given the strong foundation it enjoys in traditional society.

Prepared by the Office of the Senior Coordinator for International Women's Issues, Office of the Under Secretary for Global Affairs, U.S. Department of State, June 2001 Released on June 1, 2001


The Role of the Private Sector in Zones of Conflict

The experience of the Somaliland Academy for Peace and Development Executive Summary

The Somaliland Academy for Peace and Development (SAPD), a partner organisation of WSP International, has been carrying out a peace building project in Somaliland since 1999. Using a methodology of participatory research and dialogue SAPD has brought together many representatives of different sectors of Somaliland society to identify priorities in the process of rebuilding their country. In any society, the private sector can be both a force for conflict and for peace such that successful peace building processes require the support and involvement of the private sector. With a foundation of interdependence and co-existence, the private sector has a natural basis for exchange on which peace building processes can build. In Somaliland, the interdependence of the private sector is accentuated by the fact that local private sector actors are multistakeholders themselves, involved in various activities that cross-cut the different sectors of society.

The work of SAPD provides a concrete example of a process through which these local private sector actors have been involved in a particular multistakeholder initiative in Somaliland, and of how the creation of partnerships between and within the different sectors of the community through this project has been integral to peace building processes there.


Reborn in the midst of the collapse of the Somali Democratic Republic and the ensuing bloodshed and chaos of brutal civil war and famine in 1991, Somaliland's road to recovery was never going to be easy. The long civil war had left the country physically devastated and socially scarred. Tens of thousands of people had been killed and hundreds of thousands displaced, their homes reduced to rubble, their property looted or destroyed, and their land sown with mines. The economy had virtually ground to a halt. The army, police and civil service had disintegrated; most government offices, banks, hospitals and schools stood derelict, their contents ransacked, and even their windows, doors and roofs pillaged and sold for scrap.

Seven years down the road much progress had been made in rehabilitating the society, but there was still much to be done to rebuild Somaliland. It was into this situation that Somaliland's second President, Mr. Maxamed Xaaji Ibrahim Cigal, invited the War-torn Societies Project (WSP) to initiate a participatory action research (PAR) programme addressing the problems of post-war reconstruction.

After a preparatory phase through-out 1998, during which WSP carried out regular consultations with various national and local authorities to ensure that a WSP programme was relevant and would have added value in Somaliland, an autonomous Somali non-governmental organisation, the Somaliland Centre for Peace and Development (SCPD - now Somaliland Academy for Peace and Development, SAPD), was established in 1999 to carry out the programme.

The Programme:

Established in 1994 with a mandate to promote and facilitate participatory peace-building approaches with war-torn societies and those wishing to help them, WSP had developed a unique variant of participatory action-research that SAPD implemented.

Fundamental to the various stages of the methodology outlined below are the interdependent beliefs that the rebuilding of trust and relationships between people is the most important element in rebuilding a country, and that local ownership of the rebuilding process is the only way to ensure its success. Therefore a multistakeholder approach, designed to create partnership between people, fostered through participatory exercises, is integral to the work of SAPD and can be seen throughout the various stages the project has undergone.

The first phase of SAPD's programme was a preliminary action-research phase between March to August 1999. During this period SAPD researchers travelled the length and breadth of Somaliland conducting extensive consultations with a broad range of internal and external actors, compiling this information together with basic documentary research to produce a paper reflecting the main themes pertaining to the political, social, and economic rebuilding of Somaliland. This `Self-Portrait of Somaliland' was intended as a `snapshot' of Somaliland, an overview of the people's issues and priorities, nine years into the rebuilding process, upon which more detailed, policy-oriented research could be conducted.

In November 1991 the `Self-Portrait' was submitted to a gathering of eighty internal and external actors, a broad range of representatives of the government, the business community, the civil society, and religious groups who were known as the National Project Group. This Group identified four strategic areas (Entry Points) in Somaliland society that should be prioritised in the rebuilding process and deserved more in-depth research and collective action to enable progress. These were:

Regulation of the pastoral economy

Consolidation of government institutions at the central and local levels, including decentralization

The role of the media and oral culture in rebuilding

The legacy of war on the family, culture and values

Having identified these Entry Points, the main action-research phase then began. Working Groups were formed around each Entry Point, composed of thirty people who were most directly engaged in the respective Entry Points, (mostly members of the National Project Group) with a SAPD researcher to facilitate exploring the Entry Point in greater depth. Each Entry Point was broken down into three sub themes and precise research questions and workshops were organised on these sub themes so as to open the debate to a wider audience and draw in other principle stakeholders in the issue under discussion, including members of the Working Group, central, regional and district government agencies, parliament, elders, NGOs and members of the private sector. Each Workshop was intended to provide greater focus on specific issues and problems, and to provide concrete recommendations for policy makers.

During the conducting of workshops, the SAPD team has been observing and recording the process, both in writing and in an audio-visual component. The information, analysis and recommendations produced by each Working Group are currently being compiled and edited, with a view to being published by WSP as a formal research product in October 2001. The audio-visual component is also being used to produce research-based films, capturing the main issues and outcomes of the various Entry Points.

The Involvement of the Private Sector

The multistakeholder approach of the above process meant that local Somaliland private sector actors were involved from the beginning. With an economy dominated by the livestock trade, it is not surprising that the majority of the local private sector actors who were a part of the National Project Group were livestock traders themselves. They were primarily involved in the workshops concerned with the Entry Point on the regulation of the pastoral economy in Somaliland and their expertise and knowledge in this area contributed greatly to the conducting of further research into this issue and the current exercise that is taking place of writing up policy papers. The fact that the pastoral economy, the private sector, was identified as a priority to be addressed in the rebuilding of Somaliland is evidence of the interdependence of the private sector and the other sectors of Somaliland society in this post-conflict zone.

As is the case in many societies, the actors termed here representatives of the Somaliland `private sector' were also actors in many other sectors of Somaliland society at the same time. Thus the livestock traders not only brought their specialised business knowledge to the process, but also their perspectives as members of academic institutions, of civil society organisations, of the government, of religious groups and of non-governmental organisations.

Focusing on these actors in their capacity as representatives of the private sector in Somaliland, the primary incentive for these actors to be involved in the project was that the multisectoral participatory nature of this project presented them with the opportunity to meet and interact with fellow members of the business community in a non-competitive environment. In the context of the project the private sector actors were able to discuss issues of mutual concern free of the restrictions imposed by typical working relationships. Some private sector actors did however choose not to participate in the project for reasons attributable to the inherent polarization of Somaliland's society.

The private sector actors also benefited from the opportunity the project gave them to present and discuss their views on societal rebuilding, in particular with regard to the private sector, with representatives from a broad cross section of Somaliland society. The livestock traders in particular were keen to discuss the 1989-1999 Saudi ban on exporting livestock that had been imposed on Somaliland with the government representatives that were also part of the project.

To date, the private sector actors seem to be pleased with the progress of the project and their participation within it. Whether this concrete experience of a multistakeholder approach will impact on the way the private sector actors conduct affairs amongst themselves and with other sectors of Somaliland society outside of SAPD's project remains to be seen. One way in which to encourage the private sector to incorporate lessons learned from participating in this project into a sustainable, continuable process could be to incorporate these methods within the framework of existing bodies. For example, to introduce forums for participatory discussion into the Somaliland Chamber of Commerce would be one way in which to ensure that the lessons learned and benefits gained through participation in the SAPD project could be continued. Private sector actors are more likely to take up and sustain participatory practices on their own if they are assisted in the initial stages of transforming such practices from the methodology of a project into formalized working procedures. If private sector actors can see the benefits of such participatory practices they will not be slow to take up and implement the processes themselves.


The experience of SAPD presents a concrete example of the significant role of local private sector actors in participatory peace building. Their expertise and knowledge of that key element of any society, the local economy, is integral to any discussion of societal rebuilding, and their ownership of peace building processes, enabled through participatory processes, is critical for success. As mentioned at the beginning, in any country the private sector is essentially interdependent and as such has a natural basis for exchange, a vital element in any peace building process. Peace building processes should make use of this naturally occurring characteristic of the private sector, and also of the multistakeholder nature of many private sector actors. There is often discrepancy between the perception and reality of who private sector actors are. Although other countries may have more clearly defined private sectors, Somaliland illustrates the need for looking at the reality of the situation on the ground before neatly identifying people as representatives of separate sectors of a society.

The creation of partnerships between people from such diverse sectors of society as were represented in the National Project Group for SAPD's project does not necessitate consensus on all issues. All that is required to create cohesion and bring people together is the identification of an issue that is of mutual concern, where people can see that they have something to gain from their participation and involvement, and the consensus amongst the actors to work together to find a solution and way forward on that issue. Trying to bring people together to peace build by directly addressing politically devisive issues often contributes to those divisions. Instead, promoting understanding and cooperation between disparate groups on more minor technical issues can contribute to creating an atmosphere and attitudes more suited to addressing the more divisive issues.

Source: Apr-18-2005.

Dr. Doolittle And A Laptop Named Radio Horyaal

By: Dibedyaal

The beauty of this story is the fine detective work done by Dr. Doolittle and his two drummers on finding the location of Radio Horyaal. It was during the second World War in Nazi Germany occupied Europe that the German intelligence used Direction Finders. What they were after was the radio transmitters of the resistance. However, in Dr. Doolittle's case he summoned his two drummers and gave them the geographic coordinates of the strongest signal of what he thought was radio Horyaal. Radio Horyaal is believed to be the voice of the opposition and it is illegal. Why is it illegal? That is any body's guess, but the truth of the matter is the people of Somaliland have not yet realized that their very existence is again in dire need of rescuing yet from another Authoritarian regime. This time it is not from the South, it is not Siad Barre's henchmen but home grown autocratic tugs.

But then one asks, how come? Didn't we say never again! To revisit the past, in the 80's, midnight arrests, false anti government accusations and summary executions were very common in most of the major cities of Somaliland. How today's Somaliland is different from that of the 80's? Not much, and if nothing changes soon we will be back there soon and there will be no return.

Somaliland's president was a career NSS man, a KGB and Stasi trained Gestapo like secret police whose sole job was to intimidate, arrest, torture, Coerce and solicit false convictions from innocent civilians. Therefore, one should not be surprised if a pattern of similar tactics to silence any dissenting opinion is observed. The tactics, methods and mechanism might be different but the end result is the same or might even be more efficient.

The news from home is not good at all and it is scary. The respect for human rights, from the Islamic and democratic points of view, is not observed at all. We have seen the endless arrests of journalists, clan chiefs, opposition and regular folks. All these are done in the name of clinching to the seat of power and siphoning the revenue from the Berbera port. This drama has been continuing for a long time, one episode after the other. We have witnessed the arrest of Samsam, a teenage girl accused of assassination plot. They should have at least carefully listened to John Ashcroft to classify Samsam as enemy combatant.

We, the folks living in the Diaspora often mistakenly assume that technologically nothing is happening back home, but the latest news from Hargeisa tells otherwise. It is about the success of Dr. Doolittle's Red berets (I thought that was a dreaded name during Siyad Barre's regime, "Kofiyad Cas", a name which stood for death, genocide and massacre) or security forces. They finally found the radio Horyal transmitter which has polluted the country air waves with opposition propaganda or TRUTH as the case is here. So far the government has not released the methods, technology or the expertise they used to pinpoint the location of Radio Horyal. In fact a well informed source suggested that the finding might be related to the arrest of two of radio horyals employees!

A short wave radio transmitter and a Studio? that sounds a lot of equipment. However, Dr. Doolittle and the two drummers want us to believe that these were all in one, and worse, they want us to further believe that in fact both were bundled in the hard drive of a laptop named RADIO HORYAL! Eh, Dell Computers would love to hear that story. They want us to believe that the GPS (Global Positioning System) found coordinates are exactly the real Geographic coordinates of the KULMIYE PARTY head quarters. How could that be? When in fact the streets of Hargeisa do not have names, addresses . etc let along N-S co-ordinates.

Folks, is Somaliland run from Djibouti these days? if not now then wait tomorrow. Folks, if you are wondering why this is happening in your home land, and if you are disappointed by voting for Dr. Doolittle and can't comprehend his dictatorial actions lately, then let me tell you this: Dr. Doolittle did what he knew best to the best of his knowledge, that is, accuse, arrest, torture and silence any dissenting voice, and you know what? all that happens in the wee hours of the morning while most of you are asleep thinking tomorrow will be the same as yesterday. That is the only career he had before this midlife career crisis of vice presidency and presidency which suffocates tyrants with an unimaginable lust for power and abuse of it.

If you thought by voting for Dr. Doolittle he will be building schools, roads, hospitals, ports, then folks you were dead wrong. At least you should have done BACKGROUND Check on his past; it would have taken few months of talking to past victims of the NSS. Now my fellow country men and women the choice is yours. If you want to linger in this hopeless cliff of despair and destitute and witness Djibouti annexing Awdal then go ahead and be Dr. Doolittle's guess. If not then get rid of your hereditary apathy and join the peoples of Ukraine, Georgia, Lebanon and Kyrgyzstan (by the way the Kyrgyz people are nomads like us). The first place to start is to challenge the cancellation of the parliamentary elections. This should be held soon. There should be no excuse for the delay since we had the local and the presidential elections in the past. Let the MPs pack their pack bags and go home. History will judge us unfavorably if we repeat the same mistakes again and again.


Source: Apr 17 2005

10 "Why Somaliland Will Not Join Somalia in another Union" Quotes

1. "Somaliland will not join Somalia in another union because If the day ever comes when we are forced to make such a drastic choice as to join another country (Allah Forbid) we will join Djibouti before we join Somalia."-Pro-Djiboutian Somalilander

2. "Somaliland will not join Somalia in another union because Somaliland will rather join the United States of America as the Fifty Second State in the American Union Before it joins the country of Somalia in another disastrous Union, Hawaii benefited by joining USA as the 51st state of the American Union and I am sure Somaliland will benefit as well!" - Pro-American Somalilander

3. "Somalia? What is that? ---Somalilander born after 1991

4."Somaliland will not join Somalia in another union because there are more than fifty three (53) Muslim countries in the world and Somalia is just one among those many countries. Therefore the Republic of Somaliland will enter into a union with Somalia on religious grounds the day all the worlds Muslim countries unite as one country. Until that day comes the people of the sovereign Republic of Somaliland and the people who inhabit that territory will elect their own government, have their own flag and exercise full control over their territory as any other sovereign Muslim or non-Muslim nation of the world. Somaliland Wadaad (Imam/Sheikh)

5. "Somaliland will not join Somalia in another union because The Republic of Somaliland is an independent country because of the choice its people made. The only thing we Somaliland business people will ever join in Somalia is the Somalia Stock Exchange if they ever establish one."-----Somaliland Businessman.

6. "Union with Somalia? What Union? How dare you mention such thing to me? Young man do you know anything about the Walaweyn and their horrible customs? Let me tell you something young man, I know what union means in AF-WALAWEYN because I lived through it, it means that the taxes paid in Borame and Burco will go to the people of Bosasso and Benadir, that is what union means in their language, they want to unite Somalilanders hard earned money with their Walaweyn bank accounts. Tell the Walaweyn to take their bad culture and union and offer it to the Kenyans, they seem particularly interested in Somalia's affairs these days"---Hot tempered Somaliland elder

7."Somaliland will not join Somalia in another union because Somaliland's people believe in compromises, peace, hard work and sharing. Somalia's people believe in clan tyranny, war, stealing things other people worked hard for and not sharing. If anything it is the different mindset and outlook on life that hinders a union between Somaliland and Somalia. Since attitudes and cultures take generations to change, a possible union between Somaliland and Somalia can be discussed in about 50 to 60 years from now when Somaliland has been able to spread its culture to all of Somalia"----Somaliland Anthropologist (someone who studies cultures and customs)

8."Somaliland will not join Somalia in another union because that would be like a rape victim asking to be raped again. Somaliland entered into a union with Somalia in 1960 and we left the union in 1991 that means we were in a union with Somalia for 31 long years, what do we in Somaliland have to show for that union? Nothing! Somaliland's little sunshine started to shine after its witdhrawal from the union. I rather stay with my sunshine and avoid the darkness.

9. "Somaliland will not join Somalia in another union because Mr. I-Want-A-Union-With-Somalia received 3% in the national referendum whereas Mr. I-want-Somaliland-To-Remain-Independent received 97% in the national referendum. In Somaliland there is no one that can go against the will of the people. Somaliland is a democracy not a warlordocracy like Somalia ----Somaliland Realist

10." To hell with the union! We have chosen independence if that choice can't be respected in some quarters and they choose to pick a fight with us then that is their choice but they should remember one thing: Somaliland is like a rubber ball, the harder you slam it into the ground the more force it will return with. Somaliland is always victorious in the end, we might loose a battle or two but we always win the war, always!-Somaliland Warrior




Source: April 17, 2005

Crime and Punishment

Through history, from ancient Babylon and the Hummurabi; through Talmud and the book of Jewish law; from the Roman law and the Norman feudal law; and from the Anglo-Saxon practice to the English common law; or even in our traditional "Xeer" and "Gar" -primitive legal systems, crime and punishment had always found their own respective places-normally complementing each other, in every society. This continuous process gave rise to the present legal systems that govern many societies, to the exception of our Somali society. But all that disappeared in our society of today to the point that crime and punishment are no longer mentioned in the same sentence, so much so that one cannot even dare mentioning the name of a criminal, whether that be a warlord in the southern Somalia or the SNM in the north; nor can one attempt to put the crime on the shoulders of those who committed; unless one is ready for attacks from the loyalists of these criminals.

An example of this strange phenomenon is the attack on Awdalnews after it genuinely raised the long awaited question regarding crimes and punishment in connection with SNM and her supporters. This is an example of a society that is either in total denial or has accepted lawlessness and chaos as permanent replacement for the law and order that govern the rest of the world.

This reflects a character of a society that has been brain washed into accepting violence and crimes, with no consequences, as the norm of man's life. This attitude is a systematic mindset geared towards creating a public policy, where powerful criminals, such as the warlords in the south and the SNM in the north, go free and uncontested. What Awdalnews has attempted to do was to send across a message challenging this moral poverty public policy. Granted this is contrary to the norm--- and it is a different approach to this sad policy of suppressing the facts, but the facts are on the side of Awdalnews in this matter. They are taking a risk in challenging this culture of crime harboring; an enormous responsibility that others failed to shoulder.

Ironically, some of those who are attacking the Awdalnews are the same people who were supportive of Rayaale's government when the young girl from Puntland (Zamzam) was unlawfully put in jail in Hargeisa, where she went through inhumane ordeal in the hands of Hargeisa policemen. From the perspective of SNM supporters, Zamzam committed a crime against Somaliland that warranted the maltreatment she had received, however, the mention of SNM and the crimes that some of them have committed or at least contributed to, is, in their view, unacceptable and cannot be discussed. Increased repression and forceful rejection of the idea of creating truth finding peace and reconciliation commission are clear indications that these powerful elements and their blind loyalists intend to continue their dominance in order to avoid punishment for the crimes they have contributed to. The idea of creating human rights commission is not, in any way, to focus on how to put innocent people, SNM or otherwise, in jail. Enough reasonable evidence and credible witnesses have been gathered and an indictment must have been handed down by a grand jury before a person could be tried for a crime. However, this process has to start from somewhere in an attempt to help the society to heal its wounds, tend to the concerns of those who have reasonable grievances against these powerful elements, and in positive way, help to improve human rights in the region. This in turn would solve the problem of rather simmering anger, occasionally flaming civil discourse that gives rise to revenge-seeking-cycle of wars and steady violation of human rights in the region.

Why someone is against this approach of creating a civil society that appreciates peaceful coexistence is mind boggling; but then again, one may have skeletons hidden in their closets. It is a double standard in its worst form for the Somalilanders to present their cases when accusing both the past regime of Siyaad Barre and their brothers in the South for crimes allegedly committed against them, however, on the same breath, argue that no crimes could be brought against SNM supporters, who were responsible for the organized raids, killings and rape of innocent rural villages; or for the systematic attack on innocent, unarmed people fleeing to safety in and around Hargeisa. It is a dark history that no one is willing to take credit for it, however that won't make it go away unless the society deals with it.

The existing legal systems in our country today, function only when the victim is not strong enough and, in that in the absence of fair legal systems, victims have no other avenue to seek justices. To add insult to the injury, these victims face constant intimidation and threat from their perpetrators, who are not willing to pay any price for their criminal actions against humanity. Unresolved injustices and crimes against humanity, and the lack of acknowledgement or the unwillingness of this whole society to adopt justice systems, where no one is above the law, has created a situation where a curious holdover, a curse, if you may, and a deep social malaise from these injustices have sneaked in and taken a deep root in this unhappy community, that harbors criminals and treats them as heroes instead. The mention of crime and punishments makes one vulnerable for attacks and intimidation.

To the contrary, bringing a criminal to justice may, perhaps, shame that criminal and his supporters, but I believe, it does no harm to the society in the long run; so long people trust the law and make sure that there is a legal system that treats everyone accordingly. The question of reconciliation and the need for a truth finding commission proposed by the Awdalnews seems to have touched a nerve of some of SNM supporters, who, without blinking an eye, denied that SNM and their supporter have ever committed crimes against innocent people. Nonetheless, it is a question appealing to conscience, beyond emotions, of the public, politicians, the UN human rights office in the region, as well as to the SNM leadership to establish legal systems that could deal with these atrocities.

No one knows whether the process would produce satisfactory results, however, at the minimum, it will be the beginning of healing process. We all know that crime is heinous because the loss is so great, and that no remedy is possible; that one cannot restore the victim's life. Nor can one repay enough to satisfy those who lost their love one. It is, however, the beginning of a process to heal the society. It has been too long wait for the relatives of these victims, who are still wondering about when and how long before they hear from someone to help them bring their loss to closure. There is a sense of urgency now than ever, because witnesses may die or disappear, memory may lapse, records could be lost, and it is time this society, especially those in the leadership position, starts the process of reconciliation.

DO THE RIGHT THING. The Mighty God may even forgive you.

Ali Bahar,

Source: Apr-14-2005.

Somali National Movement.

In April 1981, a group of Isaaq emigres living in London formed the Somali National Movement (SNM), which subsequently became the strongest of Somalia's various insurgent movements. According to its spokesmen, the rebels wanted to overthrow Siad Barre's dictatorship.

Additionally, the SNM advocated a mixed economy and a neutral foreign policy, rejecting alignment with the Soviet Union or the United States and calling for the dismantling of all foreign military bases in the region. In the late 1980s, the SNM adopted a pro-Western foreign policy and favored United States involvement in a post-Siad Barre Somalia. Other SNM objectives included establishment of a representative democracy that would guarantee human rights and freedom of speech.

Eventually, the SNM moved its headquarters from London to Addis Ababa to obtain Ethiopian military assistance, which initially was limited to old Soviet small arms.

In October 1981, the SNM rebels elected Ahmad Mahammad Culaid and Ahmad Ismaaiil Abdi as chairman and secretary general, respectively, of the movement. Culaid had participated in northern Somali politics until 1975, when he went into exile in Djibouti and then in Saudi Arabia. Abdi had been politically ctive in the city of Burao in the 1950s, and, from 1965 to 1967, had served as the Somali government's minister of planning. After the authorities jailed him in 1971 for antigovernment activities, Abdi left Somalia and lived in East Africa and Saudi Arabia.

The rebels also elected an eight-man executive committee to oversee the SNM's military and political activities.

On January 2, 1982, the SNM launched its first military operation against the Somali government. Operating from Ethiopian bases, commando units attacked Mandera Prison near Berbera and freed a group of northern dissidents.

According to the SNM, the assault liberated more than 700 political prisoners; subsequent independent estimates indicated that only about a dozen government opponents escaped. At the same time, other commando units raided the Cadaadle armory near Berbera and escaped with an undetermined amount of arms and ammunition. Mogadishu responded to the SNM attacks by declaring a state of emergency, imposing a curfew, closing gasoline stations to civilian vehicles, banning movement in or out of northern Somalia, and launching a search for the Mandera prisoners (most of whom were never found).

On January 8, 1982, the Somali government also closed its border with Djibouti to prevent the rebels from fleeing Somalia. These actions failed to stop SNM military activities. In October 1982, the SNM tried to increase pressure against the Siad Barre regime by forming a jointmilitary committee with the SSDF. Apart from issuing antigovernment statements, the two insurgent groups started broadcasting from the former Radio Kulmis station, now known as Radio Halgan (struggle).

Despite this political cooperation, the SNM and SSDF failed to agree on a common strategy against Mogadishu. As a result, the alliance languished. In February 1983, Siad Barre visited northern Somalia in a campaign to discredit the SNM. Among other things, he ordered the release of numerous civil servants and businessmen who had been arrested for antigovernment activities, lifted the state of emergency, and announced an amnesty for Somali exiles who wanted to return home.

These tactics put the rebels on the political defensive for several months. In November 1983, the SNM Central Committee sought to regain the initiative by holding an emergency meeting to formulate a more aggressive strategy. One outcome was that the military wing--headed by Abdulqaadir Kosar Abdi, formerly of the SNA--assumed control of the Central Committee by ousting the civilian membership from all positions of power.

However, in July 1984, at the Fourth SNM Congress, held in Ethiopia, the civilians regained control of the leadership. The delegates also elected Ahmad Mahammad Mahamuud "Silanyo" SNM chairman and reasserted their intention to revive the alliance with the SSDF.After the Fourth SNM Congress adjourned, military activity in northern Somalia increased. SNM commandos attacked about a dozen government military posts in the vicinity of Hargeysa, Burao, and Berbera. According to the SNM, the SNA responded by shooting 300 people at a demonstration in Burao, sentencing seven youths to death for sedition, and arresting an unknown number of rebel sympathizers. In January 1985, the government executed twenty-eight people in retaliation for antigovernment activity.

Between June 1985 and February 1986, the SNM claimed to have carried out thirty operations against government forces in northern Somalia. In addition, the SNM reported that it had killed 476 government soldiers and wounded 263, and had captured eleven vehicles and had destroyed another twenty-two, while losing only 38 men and two vehicles. Although many independent observers said these figures were exaggerated, SNM operations during the 1985-86 campaign forced Siad Barre to mount an international effort to cut off foreign aid to the rebels.

This initiative included reestablishment of diplomatic relations with Libya in exchange for Tripoli's promise to stop supporting the SNM.Despite efforts to isolate the rebels, the SNM continued military operations in northern Somalia. Between July and September 1987, the SNM initiated approximately thirty attacks, including one on the northern capital, Hargeysa; none of these, however, weakened the government's control of northern Somalia. A more dramatic event occurred when a SNM unit kidnapped a Medecins Sans Frontieres medical aid team of ten Frenchmen and one Djiboutian to draw the world's attention to Mogadishu's policy of impressing men from refugee camps into the SNA. After ten days, the SNM released the hostages unconditionally. Siad Barre responded to these activities by instituting harsh security measures throughout northern Somalia. The government also evicted suspected pro-SNM nomad communities from the Somali-thiopian border region. These measures failed to contain the SNM. By February 1988, the rebels had captured three villages around Togwachale, a refugee camp near the northwestern Somali- Ethiopian border. Following the rebel successes of 1987-88, Somali-Ethiopian relations began to improve. On March 19, 1988, Siad Barre and Ethiopian president Mengistu Haile Mariam met in Djibouti to discuss ways of reducing tension between the two countries. Although little was accomplished, the two agreed to hold further talks. At the end of March 1988, the Ethiopian minister of foreign affairs, Berhanu Bayih, arrived in Mogadishu for discussions with a group of Somali officials, headed by General Ahmad Mahamuud Faarah.

On April 4, 1988, the two presidents signed a joint communique in which they agreed to restore diplomatic relations, exchange prisoners of war, start a mutual withdrawal of troops from the border area, and end subversive activities and hostile propaganda against each other. Faced with a cutoff of Ethiopian military assistance, the SNM had to prove its ability to operate as an independent organization.

Therefore, in late May 1988 SNM units moved out of their Ethiopian base camps and launched a major offensive in northern Somalia. The rebels temporarily occupied the provincial capitals of Burao and Hargeysa. These early successes bolstered the SNM's popular support, as thousands of disaffected Isaaq clan members and SNA deserters joined the rebel ranks. Over the next few years, the SNM took control of almost all of northwestern Somalia and extended its area of operations about fifty kilometers east of Erigavo. However, the SNM did not gain control of the region's major cities (i.e., Berbera, Hargeysa, Burao, and Boorama), but succeeded only in laying siege to them. With Ethiopian military assistance no longer a factor, the SNM's success depended on its ability to capture weapons from the SNA. The rebels seized numerous vehicles such as Toyota Land Cruisers from government forces and subsequently equipped them with light and medium weapons such as 12.7mm and 14.5mm machine guns, 106mm recoilless rifles, and BM-21 rocket launchers.

The SNM possessed antitank weapons such as Soviet B-10 tubes and RPG-7s. For air defense the rebels operated Soviet 30mm and 23mm guns, several dozen Soviet ZU23 2s, and Czech-made twin-mounted 30mm ZU30 2s. The SNM also maintained a small fleet of armed speed boats that operated from Maydh, fifty kilometers northwest of Erigavo, and Xiis, a little west of Maydh. Small arms included 120mm mortars and various assault rifles, such as AK-47s, M-16s, and G-3s. Despite these armaments, rebel operations, especially against the region's major cities, suffered because of an inadequate logistics system and a lack of artillery, mine-clearing equipment, ammunition, and communications gear.

To weaken Siad Barre's regime further, the SNM encouraged the formation of other clan-based insurgent movements and provided them with political and military support. In particular, the SNM maintained close relations with the United Somali Congress (USC), which was active in central Somalia, and the Somali Patriotic Movement (SPM), which operated in southern Somalia. Both these groups sought to overthrow Siad Barre's regime and establish a democratic form of government. The USC, a Hawiye organization founded in 1989, had suffered from factionalism based on subclan rivalries since its creation. General Mahammad Faarah Aidid commanded the Habar Gidir clan, and Ali Mahdi Mahammad headed the Abgaal clan.

The SPM emerged in March 1989, after a group of Ogaden officers, led by Umar Jess, deserted the SNA and took up arms against Siad Barre. Like theUSC, the SPM experienced a division among its ranks. The moderates, under Jess, favored an alliance with the SNM and USC and believed that Somalia should abandon its claims to the Ogaden. SPM hardliners wanted to recapture the Ogaden and favored a stronger military presence along the Somali-Ethiopian border.

On November 19, 1989, the SNM and SPM issued a joint communique announcing the adoption of a "unified stance on internal and external political policy." On September 12, 1990, the SNM concluded a similar agreement with the USC. Then, on November 24, 1990, the SNM announced that it had united with the SPM and the USC to pursue a common military strategy against the SNA. Actually, the SNM had concluded the unification agreement with Aidid, which widened the rift between the two USC factions. By the beginning of 1991, all three of the major rebel organizations had made significant military progress. The SNM had all but taken control of northern Somalia by capturing the towns of Hargeysa, Berbera, Burao, and Erigavo. On January 26, 1991, the USC stormed the presidential palace in Mogadishu, thereby establishing its control over the capital.

The SPM succeeded in overrunning several government outposts in southern Somalia. The SNM-USC-SPM unification agreement failed to last after Siad Barre fled Mogadishu. On January 26, 1991, the USC formed an interim government, which the SNM refused to recognize.

On May 18, 1991, the Burao Congress, elders and representatives of the Clans of former Somaliland Protectorate met under the shades of Acacia trees. They agreed to separate from the Somali Democratic Republic, and on the 18/5/1991, the Independent and Sovereign State of the Republic of Somaliland was born once again declared the independence of the Republic of Somaliland. The USC interim government opposed this declaration, arguing instead for a unified Somalia. Apart from these political disagreements, fighting broke out Somalia.

SOMALIA: Northeast drought depletes food and livestock

HARGEYSA, 13 Apr 2005 (IRIN) - Thousands of Somalis are in dire need of aid, following a severe drought in several areas of the self-declared republic of Somaliland and the semi-autonomous state of Puntland in northeastern Somalia, relief workers told IRIN on Sunday.

The worst affected areas were Togdheer and Sool regions, Nudal valley and Mudug.

Some affected people in these areas had started moving to less affected regions and urban centres such as Las Anod, Bossaso, Garowe and Galkayo, the sources said.

Abdihakim Ahmed, a programme coordinator for Save the Children-US, told IRIN in the Somaliland capital, Hargeysa, that pastoral communities in the most severely affected areas had lost over half of their sheep and goats, 70 percent of their cattle and 35 percent of their camels.

Food stocks, he added, were virtually non-existent in some areas of Sool and Togdheer, and most traditional water points had dried up.

Abdi Ahmed Iidle, Mayor of Burao, Somaliland's second city, told reporters during a news conference on Sunday that the lack so far of the usual long (Gu) rains meant no recovery was expected soon.

He urged international relief agencies to send more aid, adding that several organisations were already trying to provide food, water and immunisation services.

The first signs of severe drought were reported in January 2004 in the Sool Plateau, which includes Sool and Sanag regions. An inter-agency assessment conducted in May 2004 found that the eastern Togdheer region was equally affected.

According to Somaliland officials, the Deyr (short) rains expected earlier this year had largely failed to materialise, except in areas along the border with Ethiopia, which had received some rain.

Somalia has, over the last four years, experienced partial or total rain failure, prolonging a dry spell that has eroded the traditional coping mechanisms of its predominantly pastoral population.

Relief workers said inter-clan conflicts, environmental degradation and the lack of a strong central government had also exacerbated long-term food insecurity in the country.

In March, the UN Food and Agriculture Organisation warned that food shortages meant some areas of Somalia had reported malnutrition levels of more than 20 percent.

Source: April 14, 2005

Academy For Peace And Development

Academy Profile

Hargeysa, Somaliland. Phone: 00252-2-527759, 527755, 213-4882, 828-5610, E-mail: APD@APD1996.ORG


The Academy for Peace and Development (APD) was established in 1999 as a research institute in collaboration with WSP International. Since inception, APD has been carrying out a peace building project by using a methodology of Participatory Action Research (PAR). APD has brought together many representatives of different sectors of Somaliland society to identify priorities in the process of rebuilding Somaliland. APD has been instrumental in facilitating dialogue in the issues of human rights, democracy and good governance.

APD's participatory methods encourage consensus building among key actors with respect to strategic political, social and economic issue, leading to practical, policy-oriented recommendations and guidelines.


The Academy is a center for excellence and leadership dedicated to the achievement of a more peaceful, just and prosperous society through: Research, Training, Dialogue and sharing of knowledge.


APD is committed to promoting democracy and consensus decision making at the policy level by encouraging and supporting participation of citizens in the affairs of their lives. In this regard, the goal of APD is to empower Somaliland communities to peaceful change by providing with neutral venue to identify their issues and set priorities for response.

Research and Policy Formulation

- To provide a neutral forum for dialogue and to create the opportunities to discuss and address development and reconstruction issues of common concern to Somaliland society.

- To facilitate the process to collectively identify, set priorities and formulate policy options for the challenges of development and rehabilitation of the country.

- To assist key stakeholders including :Somaliland Government, International community, donor agencies and local actors to better respond to the challenges of re-building the nation by providing them with relevant information on critical issues, seeking consensus on their interventions and facilitating their responses and effects.

Management Team

The Academy consists of a core programme staff or researchers, management team and advisory board. The management team is responsible for setting the vision and strategic direction of the center and forms the basis for the decision making of the organization.

The advisory board of APD ensures the Academy to represent the interest of the community and that their diverse voice is reflected at the centre's programmes and activities. The advisory board compromises of Somaliland professionals living in the country.


The Academy for Peace and Development is an affiliate of the WSP International and enjoys linkages with other members of then WSP family in Eritrea, Guatemala, Mozambique and Somalia (Southern Somalia and NE Somalia)

The Academy is also a partner with Center for Community-Based Development at Clark University, a member of the George Perkins Institute (Clarks Research Center)

The Academy enjoys close relations with the Universities of Amoud and Hargeisa, and envisions for partnerships with both in the future.

Source: Aprl 14 2005

WSP Somali Dialogue for Peace project

In 2004, the WSP Somali Programme launched the Dialogue for Peace project. It is the first time that WSP International's three Somali affiliates, the Academy for Peace and Development (APD) in Somaliland, the Centre for Research and Dialogue (CRD) in Mogadishu and the Puntland Development and Research Centre (PDRC), have engaged in a collective exercise.

The overall aim of the project is to create conditions conducive to community-based reconciliation in Somalia through organized in-country dialogues on issues essential to peacebuilding, thereby contributing to the overall peace and recovery process. More specifically, the Dialogue for Peace is intended to facilitate the implementation in southern Somalia and Puntland of any peace agreement arising from the Somali National Reconciliation Conference, by drawing attention to key concerns - including challenges to peace - likely to emerge from the state-building process. In Somaliland, the Dialogue is aimed at consolidating peace and stability, while facilitating the complex process of democratization through elections, the implementation of constitutional democracy and decentralization.

The Dialogue for Peace consists of four phases. The first, a preparatory phase, entailed the setting up of research teams and support staff for the affiliates and apprising them of all aspects of the Dialogue. The second step was the preliminary research phase or conflict- and actor-mapping conducted by affiliate separately. This exercise brought forth "entry points" or focus areas and culminated in meetings in Hargeysa and Nairobi towards the end of 2004. These Project Group meetings brought together representatives of a broad cross-section of society, who took ownership of the Dialogue exercise and will henceforth lend direction to it.

In the main, or consultative, phase of research, which is now under way, working groups with relevant and technical experience will identify the key needs for each entry point and develop action plans to address and resolve those needs. To this purpose, consultations will be held with community representatives, civil society organizations, members of the business community and political leaders. 14, 2005

Part II: ANN Editorial: An Out of Bounds and Obsolete Call for Undesired Mambo Dance

Nevertheless, it is essential to state here that the famous and historic statement: "Let all that had happened on that side be swept by floods, and Let all that had happened on this side be swept by winds," did not come out of a vacuum or merely uttered, but was declared after completion of a difficult, risky, and bottom-up reconciliation process that is only unique to Somaliland -- a reconciliation model worth publicity, internationalization, and emulation by others or applied to other warring nations and societies particularly the anarchic Somalia, Sudan, Congo, Rwanda, Burundi, Uganda, Sri Lanka, etc. The international community is incumbent to recognize the Somaliland reconciliation model and expertise and apply it in all other troubled areas particularly in the developing countries.


You may recall that Somalilanders nipped the problem in the bud early on after the victorious Somali National Movement (SNM) and its intrepid freedom fighters defeated the tyrannical military regime of Somalia and went out of their way to conduct themselves responsibly and in a civilized and humane manner when they immediately:

Offered safe passage to the defeated soldiers of the tyrannical Somalia regime who heeded their call to lay down their arms and to surrender peacefully. Vigorously defended the helpless Somalia civilians particularly women and children and the elderly, safeguarded their properties, and offered them safe passage to relocate to their country of origin peacefully.

Guaranteed all Somalilanders peace and security, protection of personal properties, and safeguarding of human rights to all regardless of their tribal affiliation.

Maintained law and order at all costs without threatening or violating the rights of the country's minority clans /former adversaries as long as they were not armed or hostile or pose danger to the rest of the citizenry, national cause, and existence of the country.

Immediately embarked on the protection and integration of the minority clans, conducted genuine confidence building measures, put in place effective societal harmonization processes, facilitated various peace negotiations with each minority clan, and when the time was ripe it quickly seized on the opportunity to convene the historic National Reconciliation Conference in Burao City in 1991, where all ethnic groups of Somaliland and their Political leaders, Traditional leaders and Elders, Religious leaders, Intellectuals, and Youth and Women, and Others were represented. Integrated the minority clans at all levels of political, economic, and social fields.

In fact, the National Reconciliation Conference in Burao City was a complete success, a great achievement, and a source of pride for all Somalilanders, wherever they may be. This conference had on the outset desensitized the problem, tackled the core issues skillfully, and resolved them thoroughly in an honest, amicable, and unique manner. In addition, it is at this conference, where the now famous statement was declared as well as where the lost independence of Somaliland was restored, and where all the ethnic groups presented there were the signatories. Although this important and historic conference achieved its purpose, it is important to state here that it was followed by several other National Reconciliation Conferences such as The Borame Conference in 1993, which tackled demobilization and disarmament of the SNM freedom fighters that saw the successful end of the guerilla rule and return to civilian rule and implementation of the key nation building issues; the Hargeysa Conference in 1997, which further sealed earlier reconciliation processes and tackled significant nation building issues.

Unfortunately, it is these same SNM in which the author of this distasteful, misleading, and provocative editorial is trying to denigrate their heroism and sweep their achievements under the rugs and shamelessly trying to portray them in bad faith. This author has unashamedly chosen to attack them, malign their achieves, and to disparage their cause, their long and bitter freedom and independence struggle, their heroism, and their martyrdom.

Worse of all, it is these SNM heroes in which the author of the disgusting editorial is arrogantly trying to depict them as being a bunch of fighters without sound cause, criminals and attempts to further belittle them with unfounded allegations as quoted below:

- "The SNM was born out of bent-up anger, frustration, humiliation and disrespect for human dignity and human life."

- "The formation of the movement, therefore, came into being in the heat of the moment and was mostly driven by emotion rather than by a well-laid political vision and national agenda."

- "Like any liberation movement with thousands of fearless, trigger-happy and adrenaline-thrilled youth in its was futile to expect it to respect the rules of war and refrain from committing excess."

- "It is time to re-examine, analyze, and re-evaluate the rights and wrongs of the SNM."

- "It is high time that the former SNM commanders and supporters have to acknowledge the ugly crimes committed in the name of the movement in the same way they celebrate its good deeds."

- "It is time to admit that SNM had.its crimes and its share of responsibility for the plight of hundreds of thousands of Somalilanders, destructions and annihilation of whole towns and villages and killing of hundreds of innocent farmers, businessmen, poets, intellectuals, elders, religious men, and women and children for the crime of belonging to ant-SNM clans."

- ".the former SNM commanders and fighters should also be courageous enough to remember the victims of the movement and should reach out to the women who were widowed, the mothers who lost their beloved sons and daughters and the children who were orphaned or maimed in the name of the SNM."

- "One wonders whether it ever occurred to the former SNM commanders and fighters that as much as its music for their ears to be called Mujahids, hearing such description may be loathsome to the victims of the SNM."

- ".can anyone deny the fighters of other clans who fought against the SNM militias in defense of their honor, their property and their existence to be decorated heroes and Mujahids of their concerned clans."!!

- "The former SNM commanders and fighters love to claim sainthood by repeatedly reminding their former adversaries that they have extended to them an amnesty blanket and have forgiven them for taking the gun against the freedom fighters. The question that former SNM fighters forget to ask themselves is `who has forgiven who?'"

Finally, the author of the inciting editorial concluded his unfounded allegations by stating: "It is time that Somaliland establishes a Truth and Reconciliation Committee in the style of the famous South African one and bring those who committed crimes in the name of the SNM and those of other clans who committed crimes in the name of defending tribal pride to face rule of law. It is also high time to give the victims of both sides the chance to have their stories heard before a neutral court. Only in this way would all Somalilanders embrace the legacy of the SNM beyond its present tribal confines."!!

The above statements say it all. It is clear that we are dealing here with a wretched, self-righteous, arrogant, pro-Administration, pro-Riyaale, anti-SNM, anti-Isaaq, and anti-Somaliland media outlet and individuals who do not have the decency not to rub salt on the still raw and painful wounds of the millions of Somalilanders. As a result, we are hereby strongly condemning the inciting editorial and urge the Awdal News Network and its editors to retract it without any delay and to refrain from such allegations in the future, which are clearly a disservice to our people and cause of Somaliland.

We do not know what has compelled the Awdal News Network to raise this inciting issue or to misrepresent the facts or to mislead its readers at this juncture of Somaliland state of affairs or what is in it for them to try and open a can of worms by calling for an absurd, irrelevant, and superficial "reconciliation" process, knowing very well that we had our own successful, effective, and genuine reconciliation processes in the 1990's and knowing that if what they are trying to advocate happens they and their ethnic group will be the sore losers since they will not be able to handle the scale or magnitude of the horrible crimes against humanity they committed against the people of Gabiley District, let alone other areas of the country. Whatever their motives and agenda, these are serious issues that are subject to further and analysis.

Farah Ali Jama Ottawa, Canada,

Source: Hadhwanaagnews Editorial.April/12/05

SNM Under Attack.

(Hadhwanaagnews) SNM: Savior of the nation, our heroes are under attack. Is this how we pay their blood back? Was the electing of a president from Awdal is the beginning of the end of the SNM history? If you didn't think so, just read the pro-government's editorial and articles about SNM. How dare you .?

One SNM fighter cried out loud in early 1991 when he was stopped to pursue the remnants of the Faqash regime hiding out in Borame. His deep emotional wounds and scars were fresh. He lamented how his vengeance has been compromised. Until he has forgiven them recently, he believed that all his looted possessions were used to build the city of Borame and wanted to get them back by force.

What he didn't recognize at the time was the notion of swallowing hard the pain and the suffering for the sake of a new era of coexistence. The vision of our leadership at the time, including SNM commanders, was clear: To take the path of peace however difficult it may have been. That was the foundation of today's Somaliland. Was their decision wise or was it a premature? History is beginning to unfold the fruits of that eleventh hour action.

SNM was defending defenseless civilians against the national army with the support of all Somalis including Awdalites. It is time to pay tribute to the falling heroes and stop haunting them in their graves.

As a Somalilander, today is the era of writing the history of your people and the pen is the weapon of choice. Get on the wagon and defend the integrity of your saviors.

Barbarkay ka Baxdaa waa Bakayle Qaleen.

Source: Somaliland Net, Apr 12 2005

Total Red Sea to demolish Berbera Sea Oil Bridge Platform

Berbera(Somaliland Net) - The French oil giant Total (formerly TotalFinaElf) who manage all fuel storage depots at Berbera port, in Somaliland are in a process to decommission and demolish Berbera Sea Oil Bridge Platform.

This is clearly a financial move for Total red sea to decommissioned the oil bridge platform, to avoid the cost of repair and maintenance of the bridge, The bridge Platform which was due to be repaired and upgraded now will be demolish, Total red sea will start constructing two Underwater Pipelines.

Total Red Sea who took over all fuel storage depots at Berbera port. Apart from the management, Total Red Sea is also allowed to import oil and store it in the depots. National oil firms that used to meet the country's oil importation needs will require to rent the depots from Total at prices higher than the applicable rates.

Total spent $3.5m refurbishing the territory's oil storage facility at Berbera in exchange for a monopoly on oil supply and distribution for 50 years. But Total officials complain they have to put up with the obstacles of non-recognition: they find it impossible to obtain insurance for their personnel and equipment and shipments into Berbera are covered by the high war insurance rates applicable to the rest of Somalia.

Total red sea is said to be expecting the large machinery to carry out the operation of demolishing the Sea Oil Bridge platform in the middle of this month.

The source also confirmed that private jet carrying officials from Total Red Sea, landed in Berbera Airport yesterday, the official then were escorted to Total fuel storage depots facility.

Approximately about 5:30 local Berbera time, Total official were departed to waiting private jet.

Source: Apr 11 2005

Gabiley is deserted by her children

Brother Adam, I read your article about Gabiley, and being hailed from Gabiley, hundred percent I agree with you that Gabiley ended up hand outs of the first lady. Being a Gabilean (reer Gabiley) I'm concerned about the developmental stagnation of Gabiley and creativity bankruptcy of local administrators.

Gabiley is number two just behind Berbera in revenues. Its problem is all its revenues are channelled to Hargeisa by vision-less, corruptive and lackey locals(Guulwadayaal) so-called politicians.

Gabiley is a sleepy giant, if it wakes up only God knows what a tremendous striking development it will achieve in a short period of time.

Mr. Adam, Gabiley has one long standing chronic problem, her young, educated, vibrant and energetic offspring frequently moves out either to Hargeisa or elsewhere, leaving Gabiley behind with its old uneducated population. To develop our home town every Somalilander, hailing from Gabiley should go back to Gabiley ( as Awdalites do in Borama) and contribute a thing or two.

One more point, Gabiley should be recognized as a region (GOBOL) by her people. We, the people of Gabiley should announce Gabiley as "GOBOLKA GABILEY". From now on wards I recognize Gabiley as a region, Tog Wajaale, Allaybadey, Arabsiyo and [ X.....] are districts. I NOT only wish but I demand all like minded, serious Gabileans to to do the same thing. For Gabiley has the population, local resources to nourish and maintain this status. In Somaliland's first presidential vote, Gabiley beat Sahil, Sanaag and Sool in one-man one vote voting procedure. Waiting somebody else to recognize Gabiley as a region is a weakness and an insult in my opinion. Somaliland recognized by herself no other international entity recognized her as an independent sovereign country yet in the last fourteen years. Gabileans should do the same thing.

When we Gabileans recognize Gabiley as a region then sixty-five percent or more of her revenues should be allotted to development and administration purposes. NO MORE HAND OUTS, WHO WISHES TO BE A LOSER?

Mohamoud H. Nugidoon, Ottawa, CANADA,, April 9, 2005. 12, 2005

The 24th Anniversary of the SNM

After reading many articles about the significance and the historical facts about the 24th anniversary of the SNM founding, pro and con of the movements vision, the impact it had on the disintegration of greater Somalia, the good, the bad and the ugly of its actions, deeds and policies, I am persuaded to put my two cents here too. I would like to say few words about the true founders of SNM, their vision the way they articulated to me and everyone who heard them in their first meetings and gatherIings. I would also like to write few lines about how the real founders were left out in the annals of postings I read on the Somaliland websites. Lastly, I would like to request everyone who is posting articles on the and the other websites to be as objective as humanly possible.

First, I was introduced to the initiation and founding of the SNM in 1980 in Riyadh, Saudi Arabia by Dr. Abdisalaan Mohamoud Yasin, Mahamed Yusuf Artan, and Ahmed Zaki Gulaid (Seylaci). According to one of the founders, Mohamoud Yusuf Artan is the real founder who came up with the idea of initiating an opposition party that challenges the Siyad regime. Mohamed Artan sold his idea to his roommates, Ahmed Zaki Gulaid, Abdillahi Ahmed Abdi, Mohamoud Zaidi, and Abdi Dirir. After having few meetings with them Mohamed Hashi Handuleh and Abdi Ali Hussien were persuaded to join. The third group that joined was Dr. Abdisalaan Mohamoud Yasin and Dr. Sacad Sh. Osman Nur from Riyadh too. The fourth group that joined was Musa Adan Wadaadiid, Ahmed Egeh of Dahran, Mohamed Hashi Elmi, Omer Meygag Samater and Hassan Musa Sh. Harun of Jidda.

Hassan Adan Waadiid, Mohamed Isamail Abdi and Ahmed Jimacaale were members who joined later than those others.

Each person was assigned to call his relatives and friends and spread the word. Meetings were held. Fund raisings started in different parts of Saudi Arabia.

I happen to be in Riyadh and I participated some of these meetings. At the end of 1980 a big meeting was held in Jeddah. The decision to publicly announce and open office in London was reached. That decision came to reality on April 6, 1981.

Mohamed Yusuf Artan's vision was to raise the awareness of the oppression and miscarriage of justice that was going in the Northern regions of Somalia. If diplomacy does not work to go armed struggle till we free our people from the grip of the Siyad's ruthless regime. Secondly, it is sad ,that, I, rarely, see these names anywhere that the founders of the SNM are mentioned. As we all know, many people who claim to be well informed throw names in many websites. If one pays attention to a writer name and the persons one is trying to make a name for one may find some tribal linkage between the two. We all remember the story that Siyad's name was added to the names of the SYL founders. Can any believe? I am not making this up. I read somewhere that one eluded or even argued that he knows for fact that Mohamed Ibrahim Egal contributed and had in put in the creation of SNM.

Lastly, I am requesting everyone who is posting articles on or on any other websites about any segment of the history of Somalia ,in general, or the history of Somaliland, in particular, please. to be as objective as humanly possible. Sulieman Egeh and I had our exchanges in the ISRAACA forum. Sulieman, all I could say about your late line of arguments is," Here you go again." That phrase was coined by President Ronald Reagan 1980 debate.

In conclusion, I for one, I am on record and I am going to be on record again saying, "Anyone who committed atrocities against any Somali in the name of solely one's tribe, the least, I could do is to disassociate and disown that person even if that persons happens to be my dad or sibling. That may not be possible if one is in Somaliland, but being in America, I have the luxury to do so." It is fair and I am for holding every person accountable to his/her deeds. Guilt by association is not acceptable. For Isaaqs to blame every Darod or any other Somali tribe for whatever grievance one had against the Siyad regime and others to blame every Isaaq for whatever grievance one had against some SMN members.

Abdi Goud Musa Connecticut, USA, 12, 2005

Part I: ANN Editorial: An Out of Bounds and Obsolete Call for Undesired Mambo Dance

The misplaced and out of touch Awdal News Network Editorial piece titled, "SNM in Balance: The Need for a Truth and Reconciliation Committee in Somaliland," which was dated on April 07, 2005, will not go unchallenged.

In response to this editorial, it is important to clarify on the outset some of the issues contained therein. For one, this is Somaliland and not South Africa. Second, what happened in South Africa is neither similar nor comparable to what happened in Somaliland. For example, in South Africa there existed a centuries old foreign European colonialism as well as a state sanctioned Apartheid System that sought to systematically segregate, oppress, dehumanize, and annihilate all non-white peoples in all ways and means particularly the Black African peoples who greatly suffered and perished by the millions under this evil and barbarian power; while in Somaliland, there existed a homebred Somali tyrannical military regime supported by all the other Somali Clans such as Darood, Hawiye, Digil and Mirifle, Samaroon, etc., who mainly oppressed, killed en masse, and attempted to ethnically cleanse a segment of their brethren Somalis particularly the Isaaq Clan, the majority clan in Somaliland. Third, your call for "A Truth and Reconciliation Committee in Somaliland," an emulation of the South African reconciliation model is an out of bounds and obsolete call for un desired Mambo dance, an old rhumbalike ballroom dance, for the following reasons:

a) The South African reconciliation model is not superior to the Somaliland reconciliation model. In addition, the so-called Truth and Reconciliation Committee, which was chaired by Bishop Desmond Tutu, did not heal the South Africans problem at all.

b) Neither did the Truth and Reconciliation Committee hear and resolve all the cases of evil crimes perpetuated in the country by the White regime and their cohorts against the other ethnic groups nor did it hear and resolve cases related to the retaliatory measures by the ANC freedom fighters and their supporters against both the White Settlers as well as the indigenous peoples who sought to side with the enemy, at the time, considered an outright betrayal of the cause and sufferings of their peoples.

c) Rather than conducting a full and meaningful reconciliation process, the Truth and Reconciliation Committee sadly resorted to an emotionally filled half measure "reconciliation" process that seemed to be intended only for the records, propaganda, and some sort perceived "healings" since it chose to hear or preside over a few cases that were apparently paraded before the cameras for the world to witness. However, what the world saw and heard during the short tenure of this committee were a few cases of some White crime perpetrators and their few tearful and down trodden Black victims or vise visa.

d) The Committee mainly confined itself to hearing some individual cases or crimes that occurred during the Apartheid era and not the crimes committed during the centuries old colonial barbarism and crimes against humanity, which were committed by the same Whites against the Black populace such as the uncountable massacres of the Bushmen in the country side who were hunted and gunned down in a so-called hunting sport since they were considered to be similar to game or wildlife! Will the White man's acknowledgement and acceptance of Bushmen as now being humans and not part of the animal kingdom or wildlife ever heal their wounds? What will then, heal them?

The above stated issues are, but a tip of the iceberg and these denotes that the Truth and Reconciliation Committee itself with its dramatic and emotional hearings was superficial process that had some serious shortcomings, which probably did not do anything to alleviate the pain and sufferings of the victims, let alone healing and reconciling them. It is common knowledge that these hearings did not entirely resolve the problem at hand or heal the still raw wounds or erase the sufferings encountered by the people of South Africa over the centuries. But in the nick of time when they became victorious and achieved the liberation of their people and country, rather than to exercise their God given rights to get even with those who caused them the untold pains and sufferings or to seek revenge, they chose not to do, restrained themselves, and had the wisdom to seek reconciliation and to conduct their affairs in a cool headed and peaceful manner. And in the end they were successful even though they had to swallow pride and expectations and embarked to nurse their psychological and physical wounds on their own, and moved on in the interest of the country's independence, peace, and unity.

For these reasons and many more, it is evident that the Truth and Reconciliation Committee was a flawed and ineffective cosmetic process that lacked depth and significance. There is no doubt that the country lacked the capacity, resources, and time to fully tackle and justly resolve all the evil crimes that took place during the Apartheid era, let alone what took place during the British and Boer colonial eras. That is why they had no choice other than to "reconcile" in the way they did, if peace and unity is to be attained.

Whatever the case, the South Africans did it their own way and "reconciled" on their own, an achievement they and the international community are certainly proud of since peace, unity, and stability has prevailed in the country ever since over all other challenges. But is the so-called Truth and Reconciliation Committee worth to be emulated by other nations or societies? Aren't there other superior and more successful indigenous reconciliation methods such as the one in Somaliland?

On the other hand, as stated earlier, what happened in Somaliland is not similar or comparable to what happened in South Africa. In addition, what happened in Somaliland particularly to the Isaaq Clan can be equated to what happened to the Jews, Armenians, Bosnians, etc., and can be categorized in this manner:

1) Crimes Committed against the Somaliland people by the tyrannical military regime of Somalia, which was led by Fascist Siad Bare and their cohorts such as their tribal militias and other supporters, and 2) Crimes committed against the people of Somaliland by their own brethrens particularly the Harti, Samaroon, Issa, and Gabooye of Somaliland who were, at the time, staunch supporters of the tyrannical Somalia military regime and its cohorts and other supporters who were known to be anti-SNM, anti-Isaaq Clan, and on the wrong side of history during the long and bitter liberation struggle of Somaliland.

For the first point, rest assured that Somalilanders are still to this day in pursuance of the foreign Somalia culprits. God willing, these evil war criminals will be brought to justice before an international War Crimes Tribunal for their fascism and for their barbarism and for the evil crimes against humanity, which they committed against the innocent people of Somaliland such as the untold permanent state of repression, injustices, day light robberies, lootings, arbitrary arrests, imprisonments, unjust capital punishments by way of firing squads, disappearances of the innocents, tortures, rapes, massacres, ethnic cleansing, bombardment of the countries major population centres such as the larger cities, villages, and the nomadic herdsmen settlements -- a scorch earth policy intended to exterminate the entire Isaaq Clan by all ways and means.

As for the second point, after achieving the sweet victory and liberating people and the country, we too did not embark on revenging on those who caused havoc and sufferings in the land. We knew on the outset that we did not have the capacity, resources, and time to tackle all the individual evil crimes and horrors that were perpetuated by the local tribal militias and their supporters against their own people particularly during 1981 to 1990.

As a result, we too had the wit and wisdom to realize the need for maintaining peace, starting a reconciliation process, and to restore the independence and statehood of Somaliland. Therefore, rather than presiding over a few cases or parading a few crime perpetrators and their badly hurt victims, we chose to tackled and resolve the problem on the basis of our culture, traditions and customs, and religion. Unlike in South Africa, it is commendable that we in Somaliland, resolved the problem by simply stating that "Let all that had happened on that side be swept away by floods, and Let all that had happened on this side be swept away by the winds, " and offered a blanket amnesty to the perpetrators of these evil crimes and their entire tribes who were, at the time, on the wrong side of history during the long and bitter armed struggle against the tyrannical military regime of Siad Bare and his tribal militias and other supporters. So what is better than that? Isn't the Somaliland reconciliation model more honest, effective, and superior to the South African reconciliation model? If so, why then disregard, denigrade, and call for a foreign reconciliation model as if we had never reconciled at all? Who has not reconciled with others and still harbours tribal animosity?

Farah Jama, 12, 2005

MR. President : Sack the Interior Minister

The farcical raid on the Kulmiye(main Opposition Party) HQ in Hargeisa could have formed the basis of a bad Beavis and Butthead episode if it were not for the deeper constitutional questions it raised.

The raid itself was allegedly carried out on the orders of one Mr. Ismail Adan Osman, Minister of Internal Affairs. The shenanigans of this particularly dim-witted character epitomises just how serious the brain drain has affected the fibre of the nation. The focus of the massive unannounced invasion of the opposition party's offices was to seize a radio station that dares to criticise the UDUB government. The only problem is that the irksome Radio station is based in Helsinki Finland not Hargeisa Somaliland! After searching the premises and finding nothing, the heavily armed police systematically removed everything from paper files to the opposition leader's reading glasses just in case a miniaturised version of the offending radio is hidden in them! They then turned their attention to a laptop being used by one of the party's officers claiming that the broadcasts were indeed being beamed from this gadget. They only left after radio started broadcasting from, well, Helsinki.

The whole affair was so amateurish it is enough to make one believe that perhaps this is the government's idea of providing entertainment for a bored populace starved of all leisure activities except for the suicidal evening munch on debilitating Qat leaves. Had Mr. Osman and his men bothered to consult with the government controlled Radio Hargeisa technicians on the basics of broadcasting technology before launching their massive onslaught, they might have discovered that it is mightily difficult to broadcast from reading glasses! World technology has reached dizzying heights but it did not manage that feat yet.

But one has to stop the guffawing for a second and look at the serious issues involved here. This is a government minister ordering a raid on a legal political party without seeking a warrant or getting any court orders. He used men from the elite Special Protection Unit, a force formed to fight terrorism in the country not to seek radio stations hidden in laptops. There were at least a dozen government vehicles using fuel paid for by the state. There were civil servants from the Prison Services, only God and Mr. Osman knows why. In other words public funds and resources were being wasted to quench the madcap personal vendettas of this incompetent man who spends most of his ministerial time on needlessly attacking an admittedly snobbish but revered opposition leader because of deep-seated inferiority complex the hapless minister harbours vis-.-vis the political giant that Silanyo undoubtedly is.

President Riyale has so far demonstrated he is a fairly capable politician confounding those who so underestimated his skills when he came to power 4 odd years ago. He might lack the charm and the intellectual depth of the urbane opposition leader Mr. Silanyo, but his street fighting skills has been amply on show during the recent crisis over the parliamantry elections. For sure his failures are many and his dictatorial bent abhorrent but he held the nation together despite bullying from Kulmiye heavyweights and clannist demands for more seats from all regions including howls of betrayal from his own clan in Awdal. One weak point he must now address is his inability to sack ministers who over-step the mark. Mr. Osman has been doing this for years without ever being chastised or questioned over his misuse of meagre national resources. It is high time to show some mettle and sack this embarrassment of a minister.

Guled Ismail, Apr 11 2005/ Apr 12 2005

A glimpse at snm struggle and triumph

From the pen of Ibrahim Mead, An SNM veteran, Ottawa, Canada

SNM struggle was a story of a people rejected the (thulum) wrong and fought for the (alxaq) right, for justice and equality, and for the dignity of all citizens and their rights and freedoms.

It was a story of resistance and perseverance, of patience and persistence.

I was a story of great sacrifice in blood and property

It was a story of great reconciliation, cooperation and reconstruction

It was a great story of liberation and rebirth of a nation, the second Republic.

The occupied power, the regime of Siyad Barri and its boundless neo-fascistic and clanistic behavior and conduct targeted against an ethnic group-Somalilanders, who has done nothing but sought their God given rights, freedoms and respect. However, that angered the targeted Somalilanders. The arrogant clan driven entity of Barre, inversely helped the pressure cooker to explode at last, thus SNM (Somali national movement) popularly known as the "S" was born. It was so born as a result of that popular revolt.

The movement was officially announced in April 6,1981 in London, England. Although a less publicized Military wing group called "Afraad" was in operation and militarily engaged with then Somali government driven and backed "Daaroud of the Absami sub-clans" militia in the said area. The [original] Afraad group was formed and was operating in the western portions of Somaliland a year or so before the announcement of SNM in London. The group immediately became the cell of the military wing of SNM then.

The movement soon organized itself in a people's fighting force through out the border with Ethiopia in the Houd and the Reserved Area. The main thrust and center of the movements motivation and conviction of a victory in their favour against the mightiest army in the block was that they were wronged to the extend that the government put a plan of extermination, and or expulsion and then replacement with the favoured Darood clans in their home land-Somaliland! That was a policy of `Displacement and Replacement

The Barre regime expelled the Somaliland issaks from their homes in defiance of right! The people's movement believed that Allah was on their side, on the side of the oppressed, therefore clinched to what Allah said, "To those whom war is made, permission is given to fight back because they are wronged and verily Allah is most powerful for their aid they are those who have been expelled from their homes in defiance of right"- (Al haj.30-40)

SNM was independent and free from any foreign influence including the host country, Ethiopia. Strange as it seems to many, but that was the truth!

The authoritarian deeds had more human devastation and socio-economic consequences than authoritarian thought. It is obviously likely that the later breaded the former. In any case, destruction and human misery was the end result.

In the cities and towns a plan of mass murder and terror to kick out the Isaqs was executed and engaged by the army in an indiscriminate manner. This operation was solely run and executed by the notorious terrorist military unit known as the "Dabargoonta Isaqa" - annihilation of the Isaq clan! Others of non-Darood clans jumped on the wagon. The regime encouraged the collaborators by different means and methods e.g.: paying their elders cash and kind. New regions were rewarded for that reason and slices of Isaq lands were included in the newly formed regions to entice the collaborator's wishes further. "Buki and Sool" respectively were a down payment in their collaboration with the "Afwaini" regime in its war against Isaqs. Some smaller sub-clans with no down payments amounted to land acquisition also jumped on the wagon of the devil too! In this sadistic endeavor of destroying people, it was everyone against one [Isaqas]!

Afwaine's main objective was to wipe out the Isaqs, win the war, and then turn Hargeisa and other places like Tugwajali plateau and Arabsyo into an Ogadin and Absami settlements! However, that satanic project had failed, because of SNM!

SNM defeated the Siyad Barre Military power

"If Allah helps you, none can overcome you: If he forsakes you, who is there, after that, that can help you? In Allah, then let believers put their trust" (Al Omran #160).

No question, Allah helped the SNM in their determination and resistance for their existence. They put their trust in him. Allah full of knowledge and wisdom had forsaken the injustice, the Afwainists. It was the wish of the Lord that the strongest and well-equipped army of "AF" was destroyed and defeated by little SNM! It was a symbol, an example of determination of a people not to give up their God given rights to exist and prosper in their homeland with dignity. `Nor can goodness and evil be equal".

In another front, what to do with the surrendered, defeated army and the communities who collaborated with the defeated army was in heated discussion in both the SNM - circles and the "Guurte"-community and religious leaders. It was a decisive moment for the victorious Isaqs to choose the right over the wrong, wisdom and passion over anger and revenge.

People were reminded how and why they defeated the strongest army in the region. Because, they were right and the occupied power was wrong. That they were wronged and "verily Allah is most powerful for their aid." Because they were expelled from their homes in defiance of the right, therefore they asked themselves this: "Are we to do to (defeated army and communities collaborated) them, what they have done to us?" If so (we do) we would be devils and criminals, such as they were! Therefore, we the people and the (SNM) organization decided and hereby forgive to those who may have killed, raped, robbed and brought mischievous to the land. Those, who were against us, in collective community level, (Individuals may be dealt individually) because we are stronger now, we must be humble, SNM confessed her self this notion. Arrogance is the devils vice. Arrogance and vengeances were put to break. We must fulfill the covenant of Allah, which we have entered into it, and break not our oaths, after we have confirmed them. Indeed, in this way, we have made Allah our surety. He knows all that we do. Arrogance and vengeance must be overcome. We were victims; we must not create victims no matter of the past atrocities! We must remind ourselves the wisdom and courage of forgiveness, especially when one is in a favourable situation". SNM wisely made the decision and communities were called in to one fold again as brothers and sisters.

The ultimate reconciliation both in self and with the adverse communities

Allah said, "Those who approach you with hearts restraining them from fighting you or fighting their own people. If he is pleased he could have given them power over you, and they would have fought you. Therefore if they withdraw from you, but fight you not and instead send you guarantees of peace, then Allah hath opened no way for you to war against them. (Alnisa #90) And that SNM followed

The defeated army minus a lot of weapons and equipment were given an exit route southwards, where they came from after all. Some food and water were given.

The reconciled communities who live in Somaliland took part in all the activities of national significance. So difficult, it may seem to some of the communities in question, they received a brotherly hand, not a bullet, forgiveness and cooperation, not a quagmire of blood and blunder. The Book of Allah was followed here.

Allah said "Nor can goodness and evil be equal. Repel evil with what is better, then will he between whom and thee was hated become as it were thy friends and intimate. And no one will be granted such goodness except those who exercise patience and self-restraint - none but persons of the greatest good fortune." (Fossilat #34 and 35)

The enemies of yesterday became the partners of the day and of to day, so soon a time that no one ever expected! People moved to the main target, the establishment of a government that invites Justice, Equality, and Human Dignity. One, which dispels what all the "Afwainists", stood for. Injustice.

Co-existence and cooperation, among all communities in Somaliland took effect. A government of all communities for them and of them was established. Somaliland Republic was proclaimed in May 18, 1991 in the city of Burao.

Are we on the right track, helping our selves and moving a head as supposed to be after all that sacrifice and endeavor? Well, that is a different question, a different ball game, for a different page of history to put it in perspective, however peace. 12, 2005

The ANN's Article on SNM: A Fallacy!

The editorial article written by Adwal New News Network (The Need For a Truth and Reconciliation Committee) on the occasion of the 24th anniversary of SNM's foundation is a wonderful article for those who enjoy arguments- not for the quarrel variety, but hypocritical cases made for or against some assertions. Haven read the article; it sounds a misleading notion to me when the author suggests that there is a need of what he calls `A Truth and Reconciliation Committee' and the author of the article blatantly does not emphasis what he means by the need of a truth and reconciliation committee, but apparently he writes his article as hooray words to those who were anti-SNM in coinciding with the SNM's 24th centennial and as words of pure antipathy towards the victory of SNM celebrates, as well as an attempt to shake SNM supporters out of their complacency.

And in fact the ANN's article does not elucidate who should be reconciled with who in the form of South African's reconciliation if such committee it suggests was set up in Somaliland other than merely depicting SNM fighters as potential war criminals. And, however well the author tries to portray himself as a good gesture for raising the issue of reconciliation among Somaliland citizens, particularly former SNM fighters and its adversaries or presumably the author's tribe, his article lacks substance of evidence of SNM committed crimes against unarmed none-supporters and that makes his article a fallacious accusation that will not bring comfort to those he claims they had being victimized during the conflict, nearly two decades ago. It is tempting to say that the ANN's article is a timing with SNM's anniversary, but it is so grotesque to suggest that SNM has questions to answer and those who were in the ranks of former Barre's regime and some of them are now in power in Somaliland have nothing to admit. But that article not only it misleads those who applaud ANN's editorial articles, but also it deludes those who might think it is a good idea to spearhead the notion of criminalizing former SNM fighters or the suggestive of the time the SNM to `admit' what the author of the article described as `SNM crimes' by doggedly drawing a picture of former SNM fighters lurking to be brought to justice for taking arms against the brutal regime, in which the majority of Awdals were defending then.

Alas, the ANN's article doesn't seek our comprehension, but instead it is full of fallacies, as its statements imply. However; the author of the article could explain in detail what he means by ".... For a Truth and Reconciliation committee." and/or who needs a such committee? And whom does he mean the former SNM commanders or fighters to reconcile with; does he mean the members and the defenders of Barre's atrocious regime that came to an abrupt end with the SNM assault? Who else the SNM fought against? Does he include finding the truth about the Awdals admitting that they looted the cities like Hargiesa when its residents deserted in fear and if they still have on their untouched houses in Borama town the roofs and the households they looted? But one should bear in mind that simply calling SNM to come forward and admit crimes probably never being carried out under the orders of the SNM commanders is an invitation of re-visiting the chapter that we put behind us and no doubt that Daahir Riyaale, the Somaliland's president will not dare to advocate to re-open that chapter.

Abdillahi Ali --

Source: Apr 11 2005


J Madar - London, UK - 10 April, 2005




We the undersigned Somalilanders in the Diaspora do hereby call for the impeachment of the President of the Republic of Somaliland, Dahir Rayale Kahin, because of his utter ineptitude and his dishonesty regarding the recognition of Somaliland as a sovereign and independent state. In particular we sight the following impeachable offences, which he so unashamedly and deliberately committed against the state:

1. That he so callously and treasonably involved the country in an endless argument regarding the electoral law, the allocation of deputies to the regions and the date of the elections as a result of which the country is now teetering on the brink of a constitutional crisis.

2. That by his own action or inaction he has ceded part of the country to Majertenia and another part to Djibouti

3. That he is doing nothing to welcome back the people of Sool into the Somaliland fold despite their numerous appeals to the government to send them a delegation that will help to re-integrate them into the country

4. That he and his government have made it their routine business to trample on the human rights of the citizens of Somaliland and visitors to the country including the imprisonment and beating up of journalists, traditional elders and young people who dare to speak out or demonstrate in the streets of Hargeisa

5. That he has made it impossible even for the legal political parties of the country to express their views by banning all political rallies, demonstrations or speech-making in public places despite the constitutional guarantees concerning these matters

6. That he has done nothing to promote peace and stability in the country and that instead the government foments most of the trouble as, for example, is evidenced by the police shooting of unarmed civilians quarrelling about a peace of land and the constant granting of the same piece of municipal land to numerous applicants in order to create clan conflict or general lawlessness.

7. That the government has done little to promote economic development in the country or even to carry out a minor rehabilitation of roads, schools or hospitals

8. That the port of Berbera which from time immemorial was the conduit of our trade with the rest of the world is now defunct and unusable because of the high tariff rates set by his government and the corrupt officials running the customs service there to the extent that it is now visited by only one ship or two a month

9. That his administration is full of corrupt and dishonest people who were former informers of the Siad Barre'segime and spies of foreign governments to the extent that their allegiance to Somaliland is suspect while the remainder of his Ministers and Assistant Ministers (totalling around fifty) is a bunch of ignorant or incompetent good-for-nothings.

10. That he has done everything in his power to dissuade other states from recognising Somaliland by refusing to abide by the advice of the British Minister, Chris Mullin, to the effect that the government should respect freedom of speech, the rule of law and holding parliamentary elections so that adherence to these principles would enhance the country's reputation in the international community and hasten the prospects of recognition.

11. That he indulged in unlimited corrupt activities to the extent that he and his family have donated the exceedingly large amount (by Somali standards) of $80 000 which he originally misappropriated from public funds.

12. That he ordered his Minister of Interior and the police to unlawfully ransack and search without warrant the headquarters of a legally-constituted political party i.e. KULMIYE in defiance of the constitution and laws of the land.

13. That he is solely responsible for all the problems prevailing in the country today from "beginning to end" to use the words of the Chairman of the House of Elders.

These and many other treasonable offences, which it is difficult to innumerate here have made it impossible for us to keep quiet while our country is being sold down the drain.


1) Ahmed Mohmed Irrobeh
2) Jamal Madar
3) Ali Gelleh Hiddig
4) Kaise Gelleh
5) Mustafa Saleh Haji Hassan
6) Suleiman Dirir Abdi
7) Mustafa Omar Yare
8) Ahmed Jama Dualeh
9) Ahmed Haji Dualeh Farah
10) Mohamed Hussein Jama
11) Mohamed Ahmed Jama
12) Adan Ibrahim Ismail
13) Jirdeh Colaad
14) Khadar Diyar Ismail
15) Osman Aw-Hussein Aw-Yusuf (Colombo)
16) Ali Mohamad Ahmed (Sandheere)
17) Abdi Diyar Ismail
18) Khadar Abdi Aw-Hussein
19) Mohamed Ibrahim Ismail
20) Ahmed Hussein Robleh
21) Yusuf Hussein Yusuf
22) Yusuf Adan Ibrahim
23) Jama Ahmed Jama
24) Robleh Hussein Jama
25) Mohamed Hussein Jama Dhlaax
26) Mohamed Yusuf Warsame
27) Ahmed Abdi Hussein
28) Mohamoud Ahmed Dirir
29) Hamse Yusuf Ali
30) Ali Abdi Raabi
31) Jama Ali Muhumad
32) Nuh Cagaweyne
33) Abdi Yusuf Kahin
34) Adan Abdi Adan
35) Abdirahman Dahir Galow
36) Mohamed Dahir Diriye
37) Ahmed Ali Jama
38) Osman Muse Abdillahi
39) Ibrahim Omar
40) Mohamed Abdi Warsame
41) Nuur Mohamoud Ali
42) Mohamed Abdi Ahmed
43) Mohamed Ayanle Warsame
44) Abdirahman Haibe Ahmed
45) Mustafa Omar
46) Mohammed Musa Ali
47) Ali Abdi Hassan
48) Rashid Hassan Hersi
49) Mohamed Abdi Yusuf
50) Ahmed Sheikh Abdi Weli
51) Hussein Ali Dualeh
52) Ahmed Abdi Lord
53) Abdishakur Mawlid Sufi
54) Abdi Osman Duale
55) Mustafa Haji Ibrahim
56) Faisal Aw-Abdi Amblash
57) Abdirisaq Ali Madobe
58) Hassan Jama Ahmed
59) Khadar Mohamoud Hussein
60) Hassan Muhumad Abokor
61) Abdirisaq Muhumad Abokar
62) Abdi Saeed Asayr
63) Jimale Reigal
64) Abdihakim Ali Burale
65) Mohamed Nuh Essa
66) Mohamoud Abdillahi Haji Ali
67) Ilyas Adan Yare
68) Mohamed Dahir Deria
69) Addeysay Abdi Dhalah
70) Mohammed Reigal
71) Caddeysay Abdi Jama
72) Jama Essa Jama
73) John Abdi Ahmed
74) Rashid Abdillahi Jama
75) Mohammed Mohamoud Ahmed

Source: April 12, 2005

Muna's Dream

Muna sits on a ledge outside a cramped room with her friends, whispering and giggling as they wait for their turn to occupy the classroom. Its 15 minutes before 4pm, a few minutes before their literacy class begins.

She's timid and shy and the youngest of the brood of six. Her father died during the war, when Muna was 6 months old. Her older sisters and brothers are married, and she and her mother rely on her brother who works as a car wash attendant in town.

Her family cannot afford the public school fees which costs $1.25 a month. Like many young and adult women, a 4-month course under the tutelage of teachers hired by local non-government organizations Seven Stars Women Association is the most viable alternative.

She firmly clasped her notebook wrapped in a plastic bag willingly waiting for her turn to learn how to read and write Somali, English and Arithmetic. "After 4 months I will be able to read and write" she said. Asked what she'll do after the class is finished, she replied "I will enrol again and again and again so I could learn more."

Muna's dream is to work in an office of a local non-government organization like her school. She beams as she narrates how she could imagine herself typing on a computer. Asked why work in a LNGO office, she mentioned that she wants more young girls like her to learn how to read and write.

She laments that one day, her brother would decide to marry and will have a difficult time supporting her and her mother. This is the reason why she's in a hurry to get as much education as possible.

Tomorrow when the clock hits four in the afternoon, you will surely find Muna carrying her notebook and pen wrapped in a small plastic bag sitting and waiting with her friends on the same ledge. She would again wait for her turn armed with her timid smile and her simple dream that someday might just come true.


Seven Stars Women Association is one of the recipients of ICD and Christian Aid's Small Grants Project. It provides kick off support to new organizations involved in community projects. With Somaliland's 12% literacy rate of women, girls and women education is implemented by women associations that have barely enough funds to maintain incentives for teachers, buy instructional learning supplies, rent a space for class/office and pay for its utilities. In this country, public education is not free and remains unaffordable to many.

Posted by Yvette Lopez

Source: 11, 2005

Sarah's Hope

Seven days ago Sarah left her home in Erigavo at 4am and arrived in Hargeisa at 11pm. Having been lucky to board a relatively brand new Mark II, Somaliland's ever reliable taxi for travel between the regions and the capital, the nineteen hours of travel were quite reasonable.

Sarah traversed this rough and dusty roads for two reasons: to attend a meeting of women in preparation for the parliamentary elections, and to participate in the meeting of the Somaliland Human Rights Network to which her organization Sanaag Civil Rights Center is a member.

It is remarkable to see that whenever women organizations meet nowadays, the topic of elections always comes up. This is because the coming electoral exercise brings hope to women, Sarah included. Women in Erigavo in Sanaag region are all set to run as parliamentary aspirants. There are 5 women candidates who will battle it out with men for the 12 seats allocated for their region. The women candidates will run under Somaliland's three political parties: UCID, UDUB and KULMIYE.

The first step however is to get their names in the party line up. Sarah and her fellow women would have to convince the political party leaders who are mostly men to approve the list of candidates without removing their names.

Political parties are a new organizational expression in a post-conflict country in transition to democracy. And just like in many other situations, the Somali traditional clan lines prevail. On asking Sarah if her clan and her husband's clan will vote for a woman she answered, "My family has been encouraging me to run. This is already a sign that they have trust in my capacity as a woman leader.

Will the clan leaders the lobby political parties to give a chance to women candidates? "We have already had a series of discussions with clan leaders and they are quite supportive. The elders had previously given a chance to the men to hold positions of power with very little to show for it. It is about time to hand it over to women!" Sarah replied confidently.

Women like Sarah have high hopes of becoming part of this country's leadership that would steer this unrecognized nation to progress. Somaliland already has 2 women cabinet members whose performance motivated other women to follow their footsteps. Women now have one unified cry, their time has come to be recognized. After all, they've struggled to take part alongside the men in the discussions to determine the road to Somaliland's peaceful and fragile stability.

Posted by Yvette Lopez

Source: 11, 2005

Pet Food

My saxiib (Somali for friend) Suad giggles everytime she gets excited. She has mentioned her new pets a few times and has consistently boasted about how well they are doing despite the fact that her house has no grass to serve as food for her newly acquired friends.

"How do you keep them fit then?" I asked. She gave me her proud smile and said "you'll see I'll show you." Later that day, she dragged me outside and presented this. She is saddened that these huge creatures are getting weaker, because they were used to their lives in the bush and that she couldn't provide their usual diet. They would need to travel one day and be returned to their original homes.

However, these youngsters have been grown used to city life that they do not only eat on chicken and rice but they also use plates!

If you are to get a pet in Somaliland you could choose dogs, cats or tortoise. There are no petshops in the country so you would have to go on your own to look for one.

Posted by Yvette Lopez Apr 11 2005

The Tales of Two Towns, The Destinies of Two People

Scholars in the development regime have been arguing about what makes certain places develop more rapidly while others lag behind with severe consequences for the people who live in them. Apart from many other factors and conditions to which there are different viewpoints, the only factor upon which these scholars agree as being a detrimental to development is the way people think and manage themselves with respect to their politico-socio-economic affairs. At the local political level, the behaviour of the authorities in power is decisive in either improving or destroying the lives of the people they represent. Poor education, greed, selfishness and blatant egotism from the part of the local authorities in power are the main causes of the destruction of lives of any people in any place, and vice versa.

The following is a meagre attempt of a comparison of the current human thinking patterns of the local authorities of two towns located in two contrasting countries: (Landskrona in Sweden and Gabiley in Somaliland) and the ways these respective local authorities base their rationale in solving developmental problems of these towns. Sweden belongs to the developed world where its people enjoy a highly secured welfare system, while Somaliland belongs to one of the most disadvantaged countries on earth. However, the comparison is interesting since both these two towns suffer developmental problems, albeit in different contextual environment. What is so important in this context is the way respective local authorities deal with these problems.


What these two towns have in common, among many other things, are the following:

1) In both of them, there are human beings and natural resources on which their livelihood depends. Citizens in these two towns try to sustain their lives at their best by using their minds and relatively acquired knowledge system in improving their livelihood conditions. They work, study, travel and try to improve their lives and ward off daily difficulties. In both towns, there are local authorities that determine the course of the future of the people whom they lead.

2) Both towns lie between two (according to their relative standards) economically and knowledgably powerful cities. Landskrona lies between Lund, the seat of the largest university of the Scandinavia and Helsingborg, a bigger town with a highly developed close link to Denmark, the gateway to southern Europe. Gabiley lies between Hargeisa, the capital city of Somaliland and Borama, the seat of the first university in Somaliland and one of the first places where one of the first educational institutes (Amoud Intermediate School) was established during the colonial time. Therefore, both these towns (Landskrona and Gabiley) are subjected to pull factors by their respective neighbouring towns. Conceptually, in the geographical discipline, a pull factor of a certain place is what makes people and economic activities from other surrounding places move to it. In the case of Landskrona, people and companies have been moving from it to Lund and Helsingborg and other towns where better economic opportunities exist. In Gabiley, people have been immigrating to the capital city Hargeisa that lies not more than 45 km to the east in pursuit of better lives and to Borama that has strengthened its position by providing better education and job opportunities. If things go unchanged, Gabiley will remain a poor satellite for many decades to come (may be centuries) depending on subsistence economic activities with its inhabitants doomed to pervasive poverty, while Hargeisa and Borama will emerge as the leading regional nodes of knowledge and economic powers. Only those who cannot afford to move from it will remain there making it a place of destitutes and uneducated pastoralists while Borama and Hargiesa will enjoy modernisation and being the melting points of ideas, international links, highly educated work force and economic dynamism. Landskrona would have met the same relative plight as Gabiley if its local authorities do not ponder over pioneering methods in bringing the city to its past glorious position.


The differences of the two towns are strikingly big. Landskrona lies in Sweden, one of the most developed countries in the world, where Gabiley lies in Somaliland, one of the poorest countries. Landskrona is one of the places where industrialization in Sweden started but, due to the structural changes of the world economy over the last decades, it lost its position as being one of the dynamics of the Swedish economy. The town used its comparative advantages in being a coastal town with deep and wide harbour as well as in being the centre of the most agriculturally rich areas of Sweden. In Gabiley, although being relatively agriculturally rich and enjoying every precondition for prosperity, the town has never experienced economic growth and development. The lives of the people of the town and its surroundings have never changed to the better since the creation of the town. In fact, the situation has become more difficult in Gabiley due to the population growth of the rural surrounding areas with the carrying capacity of the agricultural landscape being on the brink of a total collapse. In both of these cities, politicians who have the means of change approach different strategies to improve or, ironically, further exacerbate the gloomy situation. In Landskrona, local politicians save no energy in investing local resources in the best way in order to improve the living conditions of the people, while their counterparts in Gabiley transfer its economic resources to Hargeisa, the capital City of Somaliland, with the aim of placating their corrupted, depraved, egoistically motivated clan appointed mentors in the government apparatus. The result is pervasive poverty, widespread diseases, illiteracy and environmental degradation for the inhabitants of Gabiley.

Strategies for development/underdevelopment

During my study at Lund University, Sweden, our class made a field trip to Landskrona, the old industrial town that lies 30 km away from Lund. Landskrona contributed a great deal to the Swedish economic base. The aim of the field trip was to see with our own eyes a town in a constant transformation and at the same time try to find reasons behind these transformations. We could see a town trying to cope with high unemployment rates as a result of the closure of vibrant economic activities; buildings and offices of the bigger companies in early times of the Swedish economic build-up becoming now the meeting points of flocks of birds; old railway lines that once transported bulk goods that were in great demand to the harbour being covered by sand and grass and the giant warehouses looking like ghosts ready for action. We could also meet the human minds that are trying their best in creating economic innovations and other pioneering attempts to enhance the quality of lives of the local people who lost their jobs when the companies in which they were employed closed down or moved to other places.

Due to its strategic position at the centre of the Sound region and its huge agricultural resources, Landskrona became one of the rapidly industrialized cities of Sweden during the 19th century, with industries like textile, foodstuff, metal and shipbuilding being the corner stone of the industrial base. The shipyard alone (being the biggest shipyard in the world) engaged 2.300 employees of a town that had 30.000 inhabitants. With the elapse of time, Landskrona started to loose slowly but steadily its leading position as one of the economic engines of Sweden. Many companies and industries (among them the shipyard) were shut down, with the result being an economic setback for the town. People started to move from the town. Now the town is characterized by high unemployment rates, criminality and deterioration of the once beautiful buildings. Although many reasons can be mentioned as why Landskrona has lost its leading position as an economic force, there are two major factors that economic analysts usually refer to.

The first factor is the stiff competition that the town has been facing over the last decades from its two neighbouring but equally powerful towns: Lund and Helsingborg. With the improvement of transportation, technology and other economically essential infrastructure, firms that were located in Landskrona moved to bigger neighbouring towns to seek better comparative advantages, or they simply became bought out by, or merged with, other companies in these towns or other places. Other services, industrial companies and suppliers who depended on these firms were also forced to close down or move to other cities. People who were happily employed in companies in Landskrona lost their jobs, their dependents became without economic sources.

The other factor is that the world economy is now characterized by internationalisation, concentration and specialization of the economic activities with the result being stiff international competition and globalisation of the economy. This entails that companies not only change ownership but also lose market with closure as a final result. For Landskrona, the result became catastrophic mass unemployment, criminality and other social problems.

The political power holders of the city do not spare any effort at their disposal to alter the gloomy development of the town. With the era of the old heavy industries being part of the history, the city counsel of Landskrona has been looking for alternative ways to bring back both capital and people to the city. New ideas of business innovations, development of tourism, educational institutes and investment strategies are being introduced. The results of these noble efforts have already started to show. Politicians who control Landskrona are knowledgeable people with clear objectives, firm and resolute decisions and who are determined to improve the plight of the city and its people. Through these wisely planed economic strategies, Landskrona is on its way back again to regain its leading place as a dynamic economic centre that will contribute to the welfare of Sweden in this world of regionalization and economic competition.

In Gabiley, there have never been any development strategies undertaken by any political authority. As I hail from Gabiley, I have been following its development situation at close range over the years. It is saddening to see the people of Gabiley suffer unnecessarily due to lack of qualified political leaders who could tackle the massive underdevelopment that has plagued this town and its surroundings through the years. Lying between Hargiesa that is the Capital City of Somaliland and Borama with its bright, far-seeing and unified academicians and competition-aware local authorities, Gabiley will finally succumb to the begging situations for handouts of the "First Ladies" and co. (as Huda Barkhad did recently) and baits of economic powers from other regions, while its resources will end up in big pockets of undeserving gangsters in Hargeisa.

Whereas politicians in Landskrona are elected by virtue of their political programmes, proper education, sound and sincere qualities, the politicians who control Gabiley have been tribally elected, some of them even lacking formal education! The town counsel members have been handpicked by uneducated and selfish figures with tribal power base. Although local elections have been processed in the country, the old counsel members dominate the political structure of Gabiley just because of their being well connected to the corrupted clan-minded ruling officials in the government. They were originally elected to secure certain tribal interests and with this, others who could have been more qualified have been eliminated from the power. Their vested personal interest and misuse of power are the guiding lines of their political agendas. Their political survival always depends on the dictations of the higher echelons in Hargeisa. That is why it has become the norm for them to get direct orders from people in power in Hargeisa in transferring the taxes and customs revenues to Hargeisa where only God knows its final end use.

Over the last 10 years, I visited Gabiley several times. I could not see a single development project initiated by these politically corrupted local government officials. Instead, what I experienced was a sad situation where the people of the town suffered from lack of proper administration and development strategies. The only place in Gabiley where the victims of unemployment and lack of economic freedom could solicit job opportunities was (and still is) the local government office. People used to gather there in flocks every working day from the early morning to try to get the luckiest moment to speak to the Mayor of the town or one of his associates in securing a handout for the day. The citizens of Gabiley who fall outside of the tribally gained control of power try individually to make ends meet, but without positive state intervention, their livelihood and the future possibilities for their children are at risk. In this highly needy and chaotic clan-oriented situation, it is the tribal relations, interest opportunism and access to the state apparatus that gains the crucial influence on the decision process. Corruption and nepotism are the means of operation here. That is why the time in Gabiley seems to stand still with no minute economic development at sight. Disease and poverty are the reality of the daily life of the citizens of Gabiley. Although the town is located in the most agriculturally potential area with every pre-condition for economic development, it is lagging far behind its neighbouring towns ( Hargeisa and Borama) that have succeeded in outdoing it with relatively bright future for their children.

What has happened to the minds of the people of Gabiley? Why cannot they change their sad situation through collective efforts and organized management? Why do they accept and be satisfied with the meagre baits from the wife of the president of Somaliland while their enormous natural resources are being swapped for cheap positions and sinister loyalties by uneducated and selfish local authorities? Why do they act fatalistic instead of wresting their economic resources from the corrupted local authorities, investing it in roads, irrigation canals, schools, health centres, higher education institutions, companies and other essential economic infrastructure?

These questions remind me an intellectual discourse that took place between me and a Swedish man who happened to be a liberally oriented academic. I was in a train to Stockholm when this man started to sit on the chair next to me, saying hello in a respecting manner. After a while, we started to exchange our viewpoints about the world political developments where the discussion on USA occupation of Iraq led us to the wider contemporary question: Why Arabs cannot organize themselves and build the biggest world power since they possess the vital engine of the world economy (oil)? That could have changed the course of the world history at a time when they occupy the biggest natural resource of the world that is the engine of all economic lives of the people. He stood firmly on his euro-centric notion that there is something wrong with the thinking capacity of the Arab people. Although I could not agree with him, his standpoint reminded me the parallel of the Gabiley context. I do not think that there is something wrong with the minds of the citizens of Gabiley. Because of their relative sedentary live style, the citizens of Gabiley enjoy the highest educated per capita in Somaliland and they only need to think and understand what is going around them. They have to wake up and do something in changing their plight in the world of globalisation. If the educated sector of Gabiley, both in Diaspora and back home, do not make a unified effort in changing the gloomy situation of Gabiley, its future generations will end up as marginalized victims while their counterparts in Hargeisa and Borama will become their leaders.

In the modern world, there is a devastatingly stiff competition between people, companies, societies, regions and countries and in any competition; there are always losers and winners. Winners live happily and enjoy the fruits of their hard work while losers lick their wounds and live in an unending misery. And who does want to be a loser? Certainly not the citizens of Gabiley.

Eng. Adam Sheikh Ibrahim Suldan, Chairman
SODA (Somaliland development Association) Lund, SWEDEN, April 10, 2005

SNM in Balance

I salute the management in its recent editorial article titled, "SNM in balance: The need for a Truth and Reconciliation Committee in Somaliland" for courageously taking the leadership in addressing the long overdue moral question regarding the human rights violations committed in the name of SNM in northern Somalia during the 90's. It is unfortunate that after more than 20 years into the desired state of session that was born out of frustration, anger, and maybe even a desire for dominance in the minds of the SNM leadership, the public has yet to see them repent or at least acknowledge some of the grave human rights violations they have helped committed against innocent people in many towns and villages in the region. These crimes committed by the SNM, in many accounts, carry the same weight, if not more, as that of the massacres committed by the military dictatorship government of Siyad Barre against the people of Hargeisa and Bura. The fact that someone was killed by SNM does not make it any less painful, as we should value all human lives the same way, regardless who one is/was and where he/she comes from.

Of course, Ignorance and unbridled greed had to have determined the outcome of the war in some instances, in that the leadership of SNM might not have known all the terrors and crimes cried out in their name against innocent Somali people, but after 20 years of their involvement of the politics in the region and even taking some leadership roles in the day to day operation, they have a huge moral responsibility to face the people and admit that they were responsible for these crimes. Many, both young and old, have still many unanswered questions and are waiting to hear the public addressing their unforgettable ordeal; the killings of their love ones by the SNM loyalists in front of their eyes. There are witnesses, records, stories that all exist and waiting to be reopened.

If the Rayal's government is genuinely sincere about its attempts in becoming the SOUTH AFRICA of the horn of Africa, it should strive to bring forth an atmosphere of tolerance, democratic pluralism, and respect for human rights, which will safeguard the collective interest of our people. It should advocate for the creation of a truth-seeking reconciliation commission that could open the doors for the possibility of public hearings for the first time, where the agonizing stories from silent voices could be heard in courts. It owes to the sons and daughters, mothers and fathers, husbands and wives, as well as friends and colleagues of those who died in vain. Their voices and faces are still with us, crying for justices. The commission should be able to exercise power to express regret and sorrow, and even retribution, on behalf of all of us, for the atrocities and human violations inflicted on these innocent people in the region by SNM and its supporters. It is a moral obligation on all of us, including the SNM leadership.

Ali Bahar -- Source:

Rights: On a Mission Against Tradition

Inter Press Service, Johannesburg, 8 April 2005= by Jeppe Hirslund Wohler

New York--Hawa Aden Mohamed was only eight when she experienced the brutal pain of circumcision. Performed in a small Somali village, the operation was carried out without anesthesia, using only basic cutting tools and thorns.

The practice of female genital mutilation (FGM) cost her sister's life and nearly took Hawa's own as her wounds did not heal properly. Today, she is at the front line of a decade-long and bitter fight for women's rights in Somalia.

Her sister's death along with her own experience triggered Hawa's involvement in the women's rights movement. The frustration over circumcision turned into anger at the patriarchic Somali society, which considers the voice of women worthless.

"The Somali woman has no say in political decisions. She has no say in family decisions. Recently, for the first time, we elected one female minister to the Somali Puntland State, and one in the federal government," she said.

"But this is just tokenism. It is not enough," concluded the 56-year-old Hawa, who sat down for an interview on her way to Texas, where she is receiving the Amnesty International Ginetta Sagan Award on Friday for her outstanding work for women's rights in Somalia.

The award recognises the outstanding achievement of women who -- often at great personal risk -- are working to protect the liberty and lives of women and children in areas where human rights violations are widespread.

Hawa Mohamed is the founder and executive director of the Galkayo Education Centre for Peace and Development (GECPD), an organisation committed to eradicating FGM and strengthening women's political influence through human rights and literacy campaigns that have reached more than 7,600 women since 1999.

The GECPD aims at improving women's capacity to defend and advocate their rights in society, starting with the family.

An estimated 135 million girls and women have undergone genital mutilation, and two million girls a year are at risk for it. FGM is practised extensively in Africa and is common in some countries in the Middle East.

FGM can lead to death from the pain, shock, haemorrhage and damage to the organs surrounding the clitoris and labia. Afterwards, urine may be retained and serious infection can develop. Use of the same instrument on several girls without sterilisation can cause the spread of HIV.

Despite the horrors of the ritual, Hawa believes the subject is still too much of a taboo to be debated openly in the country.

"I don't see FGM stopping in my lifetime," she says. "We have to change the mentality of people, and the change has to come from the family. There are educated parents who discuss FGM. If they decide not to have their daughters circumcised, we advise them not to tell other people, who might not respect the decision."

The Somali women's rights movement started in the late 1970s, but was impeded by the civil war in 1991.

"It was set back 40 years in time," maintains Hawa, who fled the war to Canada, where she continued lobbying for women in Somalia before returning and founding the GECPD in 1996. By then there were no longer signs of public debate and awareness of women's rights in a country troubled by killings and the power politics of local warlords.

Civil war still plagues parts of Somalia, making it very hard to travel around. Although the women's rights movement has spread beyond Puntland, it is difficult to coordinate the struggle on a national scale.

Religious justification of female circumcision is common in Somalia, but Hawa argues that the practice of circumcision is not found in the Koran, but in the nation's culture and tradition. She continues to educate religious teachers about the dangers of FGM and has managed to establish dialogue with a few.

"In the beginning, the work at GECPD was very difficult. FGM was taboo. People did not want to talk and threw rocks at us and the buildings we worked in. Today, at least, we are able to create some debate about Somali traditions."

Last year, the GECPD launched a more visible and confrontational women's rights movement in Somalia. With Hawa Mohammed as one of the key figures, the GECPD managed to organise and coordinate the unprecedented "Zero Tolerance For FGM" demonstration on International Women's Day, Mar. 8.

"We were scared. But we had no choice. We'd discussed women's rights for years. Activists were asking, what next? We'd exhausted the talking," says Hawa about the demonstration, which drew more than 20,000 people -- including the Puntland vice president and five cabinet ministers.

The demonstration passed peacefully and raised awareness about the dangers of FGM among the people of Puntland.

"The demonstration created debate, a debate which is still going on today. And dialogue at least brings new questions," says Hawa.

More than 98 percent of Somali women have suffered genital mutilation, according to Equality Now, the New York-based women's rights group that nominated Mohamed for the Ginetta Sagan Award. By educating young people, the GECPD hopes to promote a more open debate about FGM and women's rights in Somalia.

"We must use education as the vehicle, to bring young people on board to take over, and we must promote the good traditions as well. Somali culture has very good values, such as respect, sharing and support. But it is unacceptable to continue female genital mutilation. And to say no, that needs courage, commitment, and principally belief," she emphasised.

Hawa Aden Mohamed collects the 11th Ginetta Sagan Award Friday at Amnesty International's annual general meeting in Austin, Texas. Sagan was a founder of Amnesty International USA. As a member of the Italian Resistance, she was imprisoned and tortured during World War II.

Source: Apr 08 2005 08:34

Biography of Yusuf Haji Adan

By M Ghalib Musa

Our father, the late Yusuf H. Adan, was a national icon who cut his image as an educator, artist and a visionary freedom fighter, truly a beacon of the Somali Nation. Survived by ten sons, six daughters, forty grandchildren and five great-grandchildren, his was a life crammed with fascinating achievements although this had not gone into his head. On the contrary, humility and simplicity always remained his forte.

During our childhood in Hargeisa, it was not possible for us to contemplate the intricacies of the day-to-day life of that man who, together with mom, was the centre of our little, simple world. But, as we grew up, we became steadily intrigued in his endeavours.

As an educator, he was a disciplinarian and adapt organizer. At the same time, the artist in him was often pushed to the surface by his soft side that oozed out while he played with us - his children. Add this to the fact that although he had taken numerous risks in his political and professional activities, the wellbeing of the family always remained uppermost.

The man, whose devotion to his inclinations and responsibilities knew no bounds, was born in 1914 in the Hargeisa neighbourhood of Jamo-weyn. Hargeisa was known then as Herer from which he drew his alias "Yusuf-Herer." By age 10, he completed his Quranic studies in 1924. Subsequently, he proceeded to the countryside in a bid to be steeped in nomadic culture and get good command of both the Somali language and literature - a fact that gave him the tools for turning out an accomplished poet.

In 1928, he was off to Sudan for formal education which was unavailable in British Somaliland Protectorate at the time. But, it took a decade before he emerged the only one among a bunch of compatriot students in Sudan to readily throw his weight behind the late Mohamoud Ahmed Ali's drive to extend formal education to the protectorate. Thus, he attended a teacher's training college after graduating from high school, coming back to Hargeisa in 1939, fully prepared for his role as a future educator-cum-co-founder of a system that would prove the spring-well of a nation thirsty for formal education. And in 1940, our father kick-started his teaching career, joining Mr. Ali as the only other teacher at the just established Berbera elementary school.

A year later, however, their ambitious plan to entrench the system they strove for had a setback. Dislodging briefly Britain out of the protectorate, Italy destroyed the Berbera school, the only institution of its kind in the protectorate. With the return of the British rule, Our father was transferred to the District Commissioner's office in Hargeisa. But, no sooner had the new situation materialized than the duo opened Sheikh Bashir Elementary School in Hargeisa, the first center for formal learning planned and established by Somali educators. Civil servants at the time, both of them devoted their spare time to running the school, which they financed with their meagre salaries. The first lot of their students includes:

Dr. Ali Sh. Ibrahim, the first medically-trained doctor from Somaliland the first enrolled student of the new school. The late Ambassador Mohamed Hashi Abdi, the late Abdirahman Ahmed Ali, the First President of Somaliland, the late Mohamed H. Ibrahim Egal, the Second President of Somaliland, the late Suudi H. Adan, a teacher prior to his premature death in the 1958, and father's younger sibling.

Our father's political life took shape in the 40s. As he was still a student in Sudan in the 1930s, he had exposure to the anti-colonial revolutionary spirit of Almahdi whose long-drawn-out struggle took the British to task in Sudan before being defeated. So, with the germ of nationalism already in his blood by the time he came back to Somaliland in late1939, his determination to establish a political movement to rid Somaliland of colonialism was strong.

In 1943 he founded the first political organization, Somali National Society (SNS), in Somaliland. His pivotal supporters in this endeavour were: the late Yusuf Meygag Samater, the late Mohamoud Jama Urdoh, the late Mohamed Osman Fod and the late Abdulqadir Suldan Abdullahi, (who eventually replaced his elder brother, Suldan Rashiid) The SNS, however, was banned in 1945, being re-established on January 1st , 1946 in Burao before morphing into a political party called Somali National League (SNL) in 1952, which, eight years later, together with other political groups like the United Somali Party and the National United Front, enable Somaliland to wave bye to more than seven decades of colonial rule.

Thanks to his indefatigable political activism during that crucial period, the colonial government forcibly exiled our father to England in the same year as the SNL was born. Much to the chagrin of his tormentors, the move proved to be a blessing in disguise since it gave him to chance to further his education at Exeter University in the U.K.

With the advent of independence and unity between the protectorate and the former Italian Somalia, in July 1960, he opened the first Somali Embassy in the Arab World in Cairo, the Egyptian capital, as the Charger De Affaires. During his four-year sojourn in Cairo as a senior Somali diplomat, he continued his ceaseless struggle for educating more Somalis. Hence, he managed to create thousands of scholarships for Somali students from every corner in the Horn of Africa.

Other positions he held in the post-independence era include:
- 1964- 1970 the political councillor in the Somali Embassy in Khartoum
- 1972 the founder of the first Somali National Folklore Dancers to retain the cultural values
- 1972- 1977 Director of Heritage & Culture of the Ministry of Information & National Guidance in Mogadisho, Somalia
- 1978-1980 Advisor in the Academy of Arts in Mogadisho - 1980-1984 Regional Director of the Ministry of Culture and Higher Education in Hargeisa
- 1988-1990 an SNM Warrior.
- Finally, June 2004, after a long stay in London, our father returned to his birth place, Hargeisa, where he peacefully passed away on February 15th, 2005.

Conclusively, it is not easy for a child, any child, to write about his/her parents. The task is more daunting when that parent is a national figure. Thus, I would like to wind up this piece with a very brief word to my father: "dad, you were one of a kind!"

Bio By the children of the Late Haji Yusuf Adan

Of legend and martyrdom: a letter to the Late Yusuf Haji Adan.

Dear Great One,

There are grim moments when the soul desperately needs to shed tears but the tears refuse to drop out of the eyes and roll down the cheeks because they know one's grieve is too deep to be alleviated. Such dreadful experience is my lot this chilly, dreary winter evening when the air is empty of soothing, sweet bird songs and the thrilling rustle of tree leaves dancing to the tune of a gentle summer breeze.

Now, as I forcibly drag a reluctant, miserable body along a poorly lit Toronto back street, pulling a mournful, long face reflecting the intense pain gnawing the heart, a gripping flash back of a day in my childhood life forces itself into the forebrain:

It is a bright sunny Hargeisa day. A couple of evenings back, the city was blessed by "miraale" a heavy night rain storm. A large number of happy livestock in festive mood: bleating sheep and goats, mooing cows and roaring camels, with their little ones frolicking around them, throng the "Dooxa", the dry water way at which Hargeisa valley bottoms.

Today's scenario could well be as inviting: An overcast sky, together with the humid monsoon winds blowing across the Indian Ocean this time of year, promises more rain to further eliminate the traces of the past harsh "jiilaal", the dry season. Thus, it is the kind of morning a spoilt brat like me would hate seeing his parents near his bed, especially if it is a school day.

Therefore, after a futile attempt in feigning sickness, my father, a no nonsense man and this morning's target of my wrath, forces me to go to school. A few decades later, after realizing that I had the good fortune of seeing in the flesh a national icon, who happened to be you, at my school, I would be very grateful to him for having foiled my childish design.

Predictably, I clearly remember how things unfolded in that morning. I was taking the morning break when an Education Department lorry suddenly darted into the yard of my school as I played with some classmates. When the vehicle, which carried students from, Amood came to a halt, an energetic man jumped out of the front seat. From the excitement his appearance had stirred among the teachers and students, it was evident that he was a highly esteemed personality. And that personality was none other than you.

In fact, some vivid mental pictures of the occasion are still glued to the memory. More precisely, your pleasant face, strong and portly body, brisk steps, animated smile and friendly demeanour were a breath of fresh air. That is why, perhaps, a perennially quoted verse in your inexhaustible repertoire sprang into the head the moment I learned about your departure:

Just like a rain which graced a verdant land, swept by the rays of a rising sun afterwards - that is what you, indeed, are.

Yes! Vanity was never your ally. Even so, one can't help getting the feeling that the foregoing lines aptly depict everything that you were during your sojourn in this dimension. That is particularly true if one, only for a moment, forgets the romantic twist too often given to them and reflects more upon the legacy of a giant who gave everything he had to people he selflessly adored.

As a founding father of modern education in the ex-British Somaliland Protectorate, one of the first freedom fighters the whole Somali nation ever knew, an accomplished artist, and a great visionary, you, indeed, were the "rain," and "the rays" and "the rising sun" which, together, "graced" and "swept" the "verdant land", the generations of human beings illuminated by the education system you had co-founded with another super hero, the late Mr. Mohamoud Ahmed Ali. Of course, your unflagging determination and strong passion to educate your people are reflected not only by your deeds, but also by the literature you bequeathed to us to educate the average person about the virtue of education versus the devastating effect of ignorance. In this respect the following lines a make a deep impression on the mind

Right at the seat of ignorance one get dehumanized. (Ignorance) is the neighbour of all the diseases unleashed by God It has alliance with poverty, the killer of humans Oh! Before our people become learned, The heart bars me from the pursuit of wealth

*** One day, The love of education will dominate our kin
One day, The upcoming children will be helping hands for you
One day, this lot in Sheikh ,
Their influence , will envelope the land
One day, that ailing stomach will heal.

Today, as a bereaved nation whose heart is heavy with sorrow mourns the loss of yet another hero's hero - you - several decades after the death of the late Mr. Ali, small wonder that the fruits of your ventures are scattered all over the globe and active in every sphere of human endeavour: they are parents, grandparents, academics, architects, businessmen, doctors, economists, engineers, politicians, scientists, soldiers teachers - one can continue ad nauseam.

If your profuse and undying imprints on the matrix constituting Somaliland is without comparison, your contribution to the wider Somali nation remains equally fascinating, to say the least. When the nationalist movement was just beginning to pick up in the former Italian Somalia, you made indefatigable efforts to alert the whole nation not only to the larking dangers of the day, but also the indispensable need for cooperation:

Oh, Somalis wake up!
Wake up! And lean upon each other
And at any given moment
do prop up the weak amongst you.


Britain occupied Hargeisa and its environs
Snoozing France is in Djibouti from where it (hiifaaye ) us
And further to the Haud
America pushed its scouting mission.
O, Somalis, do arm yourselves
You are encircled.

These are only an example of your revolutionary war cries at a time you were vulnerable as a colonial government employee, the only source of gainful work in Somaliland, then. Even in the post-colonial days, your unyielding commitment to concretizing the aspirations of the masses struck terror in the hearts of successive civilian governments, while the military dictatorship denied your right, to retire in Hargeisa, to keep an eye on you at closer quarters. Thus, you were always under the microscope of corrupt, immoral and ruthless regimes- a fact which drastically jeopardized your personal progress.

The many odds you faced in this world notwithstanding, thanks to your unshakable faith and tenacity, the ruthless ploys of the enemies of freedom and progress utterly failed to deter you from consistently pursuing your principles and harnessing your artistic and intellectual talents for the benefit of the nation.

That is why, o, great one, your departure have brought to a close a golden era in the historical annals of our people - an era in which urbanization widely spread, secular education flourished, and Somali nationalism peaked. It was also a period during which Somali art - theatre, music and singing - entered a new phase and blossomed not only to reflect what is beautiful in us but also emerged a deadly weapon in the hands of relentless nationalist like you.

Unfortunately, while your short-lived joy over the independence of Somaliland and Somalia which, eventually, proved hollow, and their subsequent ill-advised unity was tremendous, the sorry state to which things deteriorated no sooner than the aliens had left our soil was the last straw. Instead of inheriting a country basking in peace with citizens bound together by the warm spirit of universal brotherhood, the whole nation became rent by hatred, wrecked by oppression and unravelled by corruption - trends that spewed massive violence that eviscerated your grand dream of seeing the birth of Great Somalia one day!

All said, however, the gloomy situation which developed immediately after "independence", is not without its silver lining: just like the sphinx, Somaliland rouse from its ashes and we regained our sovereignty. Thus, "Naaso Hablood," are, once again, free to resume nurturing us as they did for all their children since time immemorial. Against this backdrop, O, the great one, although we have committed your body to dust, your spirit will never fade away since it is woven into the fabric of the nation!

So long great one.

By Mohamed Y. Urdoh

P.S: O, great one, before calling quits, I've got a question for you: remember that little stone you took from Somaliland when you were exiled to England in 1952, for your part in unleashing the Somali National League (SNL) By the by, where have you left it? Please tell me. I need it so badly. Well, I'm waiting to hear from you. Until such time, I will console myself with these lines of yours:

O, you, this stone,
Of consciousness and brain
You display none.
God who created you
Formed you in this way
Oh! My country and land,
Their intoxicating aroma (which you exude )
Indeed, I get it coming from you.

When Mr. Adan was exiled to UK in 1952, he took a stone from Somaliland to symbolize his country. One day, a British student at Exeter University, where the former was attending at the time, attempted to confiscate the stone, assuming Mr. Adan was worshipping it. This touched off a physical fighting between them. Mr. Adan wrote the poem from which the above-mentioned lines were extracted after recovering the stone.. The words in the brackets are implied. April 8, 2005 - 01:47

Editorial - SNM in balance: The need for a Truth and Reconciliation Committee in Somaliland

Twenty-four years have elapsed since the formation of SNM. This is sufficient time for emotions to be settled and to look back with clear vision and critical evaluation the struggle and history of the movement. The SNM was born out of bent-up anger, frustration, humiliation and disrespect for human dignity and human life. The formation of the movement, therefore, came into being in the heat of the moment and was mostly driven by emotion rather than by a well-laid political vision and national agenda.

Like any liberation movement with thousands of fearless, trigger-happy and adrenaline-thrilled youth in its ranks and fighting a ruthless and inhumane regime, it was futile to expect it to respect the rules of war and refrain from committing excesses. The one and only goal of the movement during its long years of struggle was to free the people and country from the tyranny of a military regime. The rule of thump was all is fair in love and war.

Now, after almost a quarter of a century, it is high time that sober and wise people answer the hard questions. It is time to re-examine, analyze and re-evaluate the rights and wrongs of the SNM. It is high time that conscientious souls and responsible citizens look into their depths and come up with answers that go beyond the hackneyed self-righteous and self-congratulatory attitudes of the battle days. It is unhealthy of a society yearning to build a nation based on lasting peace, democratic norms, prosperity and human dignity to gloss over the truth and see men who portray themselves as the leaders of the whole nation acting as if they are just now emerging from the dust of the battle, adorned with all their armaments and battle cries.

It is high time that the former SNM commanders and supporters have to acknowledge the ugly crimes committed in the name of the movement in the same way they celebrate its good deeds. It is time to admit that the SNM had its victories and it defeats, its success and its blunders, its crimes and its share of responsibility for the plight of hundreds of thousands of Somalilanders, destruction and annihilation of whole towns and villages and the killing of hundreds of innocent farmers, businessmen, poets, intellectuals, elders, religious men and women and children for the crime of belonging to anti-SNM clans.

In celebrating the 24th anniversary of the SNM and remembering those who lost their precious lives for the cause of liberating their people from oppression and dictatorship, the former SNM commanders and fighters should also be courageous enough to remember the victims of the movement and should reach out to the women who were widowed, the mothers who lost their beloved sons and daughters and the children who were orphaned or maimed in the name of the SNM.

It is always easy, particularly in the clan-worshipping culture of our people, to sing the heroism of your own men and women and forget the heroism of others. One wonders whether it ever occurred to the former SNM commanders and fighters that as much as its music for their ears to be called Mujahidis, hearing such description may be loathsome to the victims of the SNM who are today law abiding and patriotic Somaliland citizens. What are the criteria for earning the honor of Mujahid or Martyr in a tribal society like ours, one may ask. In Islam it is known that anyone who dies defending the honor of his family or his property and his soul is a martyr. No one doubts those SNM fighters who fought with the good intention of defending the honor of their people, their property and their country as a whole against a tyrant regime deserve the honor of being Mujahid in the strict sense of the word but can any one deny the fighters of other clans who fought against the SNM militias in defense of their honor, their property and their existence to be decorated heroes and Mujahids of their concerned clans.

The former SNM commanders and fighters love to claim sainthood by repeatedly reminding their former adversaries that they have extended to them an amnesty blanket and have forgiven them for taking the gun against the freedom fighters. The question that the former SNM fighters forget to ask themselves is "who has forgiven whom? It is understandable that due to unflinching tribal loyalties and strong emotions attached to the struggle of the SNM, it might have been difficult to even contemplate answering this question at earlier times but after a quarter of a century it is not only reasonable but a moral obligation for both former SNM fighters and the militia commanders of the anti-SNM clans at the time to answer such question and other more difficult ones. It is time that Somaliland establishes a Truth and Reconciliation Committee in the style of the famous South African one and bring those who committed crimes in the name of the SNM and those of other clans who committed crimes in the name of defending tribal pride to face the rule of law. It is also high time to give the victims of both sides the chance to have their stories heard before a neutral court. Only in this way would all Somalilanders embrace the legacy of the SNM beyond its present tribal confines.

c 2005 Awdalnews Network

Source: 08 Aprl 2005


African Right's - Hargeisa, Somaliland - 06 April, 2005

A failed attempt by the Somaliland police to close down a new radio station, Radio Horyaal, might sound like a comedy of errors, but it is another indication of an increasingly worrying human rights situation. The independent station has only been operational for about two weeks, but its very existence appears to have unnerved the government. Until recently, the government enjoyed a monopoly on the airwaves, and it has used Radio Hargeisa as a partisan vehicle to promote its own political interests, marginalising alternative voices and unwelcome facts and views.

When Radio Horyaal first broadcast, Ali Ahmed Ghelle, the deputy Minister of Information, immediately fired two journalists working for Radio Hargeisa, Hoda Ahmed Qarboshe and Ahmed Sheikh Elmi, who had taken part in its programmes. Other journalists from Radio Hargeisa were dismissed in subsequent days. Two other people associated with the radio were required to report to the Criminal Investigations Department (CID) every evening to answer questions, principally about the physical location of the radio. In the meantime, unwilling to believe that the radio is beamed into Somaliland from abroad, the government has sent people all over the country to scout for the radio which it has linked to one of the two opposition parties, KULMIYE.

On Monday, 4 April, about 30 heavily-armed policemen forced their way into the headquarters of KULMIYE in the capital, Hargeisa, at about 5:00 p.m., conducting a thorough search of the offices for the elusive radio. Other armed policemen stayed outside and surrounded the premises. The secretary-general of the party, Daud Mohamed Ghelle, arrived as the police began their hunt. He later told journalists that he asked the policemen the purpose of their visit, which they did not reveal, and whether they had a search warrant, which they did not.

A huge crowd soon gathered at the party's offices, including journalists, when its leaders and supporters turned up in full force to confront the police, who had in the meantime received huge reinforcements. The commanders leading the police, Abdillahi Fadal Iman, in charge of police operations for Somaliland; the police commander for Hargeisa; and the head of the CID, argued that the radio was located on the laptop of Daud Mohamed Ghelle and said they wanted to take Ghelle himself, as well as the laptop, into custody. There was a heated exchange between the police, who admitted they did not have legal authorization, but said they had been given "orders", and the leadership of KULMIYE who refused to surrender the laptop or to allow Ghelle to be taken by the police. The showdown attracted more and more people who became vocal in denouncing the police action.

The head of the Electoral Commission, Ahmed Haji Ali, came, along with some members of the Commission, the deputy speaker of Parliament and a number of elders, to try and defuse a potentially explosive situation. KULMIYE rejected the suggestion that they should hand the laptop over to the Commission, insisting on the right to know why their offices had been forcibly entered and ransacked in a manner that was evidently illegal and unconstitutional.

The police eventually withdrew at about 8:45 p.m. after they heard the nightly programme from Radio Horyaal and realized that it was not being broadcast from the building they themselves had surrounded. Ironically, the Landcruisers carrying the well-armed policemen were part of the Special Protection Unit set up to fight terrorism and to protect foreigners after several foreigners were assassinated.

In an interview with the Somali Service of the BBC, the Minister of the Interior, Ismail Adan Osman, insisted that a search warrant was not necessary because the radio is "illegal." And yet Article 32 of the Constitution of Somaliland guarantees freedom of association, freedom of expression and freedom of the press in unequivocal terms. It states specifically that "the press and all other media are part of the rights citizens enjoy for expressing their opinions" and adds that "the press and media are entitled to their independence" and forbids any step to undermine this independence. Furthermore, Law No.27 gives the citizens of Somaliland the right to establish private radios, newspapers and TV stations. This law has been passed by both houses of parliament and signed by the President. Somaliland already has both private newspapers and a private TV station.

The government's argument that the radio in question is "illegal" because it is not registered in Somaliland is irrelevant because the radio, as the government has been informed on many occasions, is based in a European country where it is registered. And there is no law that requires the citizens of Somaliland to acquire a license from the government for the right to listen to a foreign-registered radio.

It is not clear exactly who gave the police this assignment. The police force is answerable to the Minister of the Interior, but it is possible that the orders came from more senior quarters. What is clear, however, is that the Government of Somaliland is intolerant of dissent and is increasingly engaged in an open assault on the rights guaranteed in the Constitution of Somaliland, in this instance freedom of expression. The refusal of the government to allow the establishment of competitive radio stations is counterproductive and backward looking in an age where information persistently flows across borders. It is particularly difficult to square with talk about progress towards "democratisation" and the desire for international recognition for Somaliland.

Independent radio can make analysis and debate on difficult issues accessible to ordinary people. This is a necessary part of ensuring that Somalilanders are well informed and able to generate the new ideas essential to build a better future for all the people of Somaliland. Unfortunately the experiences of Radio Horyaal would seem to suggest that the safest place to encourage debate in Somaliland is from outside the country. It is important that the government take immediate steps to correct this troubling impression and safeguard the rights enshrined in the Constitution. Apr 08 2005

A Statement Of Apology.

Now for the first time I have to concede to my friends in the opposition, that in this episode, it is the government that has got the egg in its face.

Those of us who support the UDUB party in power in Somaliland usually try to own all the good actions of the government. We gloated over the masterful way that the President and his government handled the parliamentary election crisis. We slapped each other on the shoulders and said"well done". Whenever there is a cross-fire of discussion between friends on the politics of Somaliland, we count the many victories of this administration; from holding municipal and parliamentary elections to a successful fight against terrorism, to a non-belligerent and cool headed handling of the Sool crises, to good neighborly relations with both Ethiopia and the more unpredictable hostile regime at Djibouti. Despite the tremendous and gargantuan problems facing our young, war-ravished and unrecognized country, to me and to most of the people in Somaliland, the present administration was tackling the national problems, day come day go, in a manner way better than what we would normally expect from them. For that reason, those of us who had no Agenda other than a better Somaliland did never hesitate to show their support to them.

Now for the first time I have to concede to my friends in the opposition, that in this episode, it is the government that has got the egg in its face. It was a big mistake. They actually shot themselves on the foot. In a democratic state the law does not even politely knock the doors of the opposition leadership, attacking them with riot squads is totally unthinkable. Whoever thought about this scheme must be sent to a course of ABC in democracy for dummies. Naturally in our teething democracy there will be painful moments, however we must neither exaggerate a minor problem, nor be silent from a situation that we honestly think could bode danger to the fabric of our nation.

Therefore, in the light of what happened yesterday at the Kulmie headquarters of Hargeisa, I decided to send my deep felt apologies to the KULMIYE rank and file, and to the larger populace of Somaliland about the harassment actions of this government of the UDUB party that I support. I hope we will all learn the necessary lessons from this incident.

Mohamud Tani

Source: United Nations Children's Fund (UNICEF) 31 Mar 2005

UNICEF Somalia Monthly Review - March 2005

Political developments

The Northwest Somalia ('Somaliland') constitutional court gave a ruling that paved the way for the setting of a date for parliamentary elections. The date had been a source of conflict between the ruling party and the opposition. Somaliland's National Electoral Commission is to set a new date which will be announced by the President.

The Middle Shabelle administration in Central Somalia celebrated its fourth anniversary in the regional capital, Jowhar located some 90 km north of Mogadishu. The leader of the administration Mohamed Dhere expressed support for the Transitional Federal Government (TFG) and said Jowhar was ready to host the new government. He urged residents of Jowhar to support the TFG.

Visiting missions: Somaliland President Dahir Riyale Kahin on 10 March met senior staff of UN agencies working in Somaliland and Somalia led by the UNDP Resident Representative and Humanitarian Coordinator, Mr. Maxwell Gaylard. The team's mission was to evaluate project implementation in Somaliland. President Kahin also met an Ethiopian government delegation which is working on modalities for improving trade relations between landlocked Ethiopia and Somaliland. As part of the effort to boost trade, Somaliland's Berbera Port Authority and the Ethiopian Maritime and Transit Service Enterprises signed an agreement to enhance Ethiopia's transit trade.

Security developments

Incidents of insecurity continued in Central and Southern Somalia leading to loss of lives. The Imam of Muse Boqor mosque in Waberi district of Mogadishu was killed by unknown gunmen on 13 March 2005. A Russian medical doctor was shot and wounded reportedly over a pay dispute.

Fighting in parts of Galgaduud region led to at least 36 people killed. Three children were also killed and six others wounded while playing with an object on 13 March in Saliide settlement situated between Galinsoor and Dhabad, Galgaduud region.


Relief supplies: UNICEF distributed relief supplies donated by Coca Cola to victims of the tsunami that hit the Northeast Somalia ('Puntland') coastline on December 26 2004. The supplies were distributed during a visit by UNICEF staff to Hafun, the worst-hit area.

UNICEF completed the construction of a new water well to serve families affected by the tsunami in Hafun. The well is situated seven kilometres from the settlement.

Drought: The Second Deputy Speaker of the Somaliland Parliament, Elmi Hirsi Ali, sounded an alert on severe drought in Seylac and Loya-addo districts. He appealed for help from the local administration and international humanitarian organizations.

Special Days.

Days marked: UNICEF supported the marking of International Women's Day on 8 March in various regions of Somaliland. Activities to mark the occasion included drama performances, lectures, songs and poems. The Day celebrated annually is a chance to review the progress women have made in the struggle for equality, peace and development.

World Water Day was marked on 22 March. In Somaliland, the main event was held in Gebiley where UNICEF has completed a major water project and where a sanitation project for schools is underway. The Day was also marked in Hargeisa, Somaliland's capital. The Somaliland Ministry of Water organized the celebrations with support from UNICEF and other agencies in Somaliland.

In Puntland, the main celebrations were held in Puntland's administrative capital, Garowe, where the President of Puntland State Mohamud Muse Hirsi "Adde" officially launched the Garowe water system.

Health update.

UNICEF held a coordination meeting in Nairobi, Kenya, with international and local NGOs implementing health and nutrition programmes in Central/Southern Somalia. Due to insecurity it could not be held in Jowhar the location of the main UNICEF office in Central/Southern Somalia.

Maternal care: UNICEF in collaboration with Candle Light for Health and Education (CLHE) started the production in Somaliland of the first of 12,000 Clean Delivery Kits (CDK). The kits contain medical accessories to ensure safe delivery of children. They will be distributed to Maternal and Child Health (MCH) centres.

MSF-Sweden has conducted a feasibility study on the re-opening of Belet-Weyne Hospital. The hospital has been closed since 1998 when the Coordinating Committee of the Organization for Voluntary Services (COSV) pulled out due to financial constraints.

Diarrhoea control: Following reports of an outbreak of diarrhoea and shortage of water in Adenyabal district of Middle Shabelle in Central Somalia, UNICEF staff visited the district to assess the situation. The situation has now stabilised with the local maternal and child health clinic providing treatment to patients. UNICEF and its partners have launched an aggressive water chlorination campaign this year and it has borne fruit given that there has not been any cholera outbreak throughout Somalia unlike in previous years.

Nutrition update.

Advocacy: UNICEF organized a workshop to sensitize policy-makers from the Somaliland administration on infant feeding and also printed Operational Guidelines for Supplementary Feeding Programmes to help staff in responding to emergency nutrition needs of vulnerable populations.

Drought assessment: UNICEF staff participated in an interagency drought assessment mission to Awdal region, Somaliland. The mission found high rates of livestock deaths and increase of measles.

Water and environmental sanitation Environ

Database: In Puntland the local administration has formed a coordinating committee which is working closely with the UN and other agencies to establish a database of key actors in the water sector.

Projects launched: The Garowe Water Supply System was inaugurated on World Water Day. While the Puntland State Agency for Water and the Environment and borewell operators are running the supply in the interim, plans are underway to ensure a private management company is put in place to run the system as soon as is logistically possible. The Day was also marked in Jowhar, Central Somalia, a town which is served by the Jowhar Water System, the first major public-private sector partnership water project since the fall of the government.

The Jowhar Water System was initially constructed by the German Technical Cooperation (GTZ) between 1982 and 1983. Unfortunately it was vandalized after the collapse of the Somali state in 1991. However, the European Union financed the rehabilitation of the system and on 16 August, 1997, Farjano Company made up of representatives of key clans in Jowhar took over the management of the supply system that supplies water to most of the between 30,000 and 35,000 residents of Jowhar.

Training: UNICEF trained some 60 people from Hiran region, Central Somalia, in management and hygiene for water sources.

Communication for development

In Puntland, UNICEF engaged in advocacy and social mobilization for hygiene promotion in Hafun, the worst hit location by the tsunami which struck in December 2004. Other areas covered by the initiative include breastfeeding, HIV/AIDS education, immunization and eradication of female genital mutilation.

UNICEF supported women's groups in Jowhar, Central Somalia for cholera control and prevention. UNICEF staff met those of three youth broadcasting groups in Merka - Shabelle Peace Development, Shabelle Youth Development Organization and Ayub Orphanage Centre to explore how the youth could help in collaborating with video centres to broadcast material of relevance to the youth.

UNICEF missions

During the period under review UNICEF Somalia Representative Jesper Morch met Somaliland administration officials and discussed issues related to UNICEF's work in Somalia. Mr Morch and his deputy, Siddharth Chatterjee also visited Jowhar in Central Somalia where they met representatives of the Local administration and reviewed UNICEF programmes.

Education update.

Girl education: UNICEF Somalia staff participated in an Eastern and Southern African education network meeting in Kampala, Uganda that ended on 4 March. The meeting had participants from 24 countries from the region and discussed strategies for boosting girls' education.

School feeding: UNICEF's Somaliland office held discussions with the World Food Programme on the possibility of enhancing collaboration in the school feeding programme. The aim of the intervention is to increase school enrollment and learning with a special focus on girls. The two UN organizations agreed to identify 20 more schools for the programme. UNICEF will construct school canteens in ten schools in the current year. The canteen facility in each school will include a kitchen, a dining hall and a store. WFP will provide the food.

Advocacy: In Puntland, preparations for launching of the Back to School campaign continued. Consultations were held with representatives of the local administration, radio stations, school children, NGOs and teachers. Similar consultations were held in schools in Luq and Belet Hawo in Gedo region. The Back to School initiative will be launched this year in order to boost school enrolment in Somalia. UNICEF staff and the Minister of Education for Puntland visited at least 40 schools in Nugal and Mudug regions. During the visit, they met teachers, mentors for teachers, members of community education committees and community mobilizers with whom they discussed issues related to enrolment, teachers, school buildings and financing. Lack of adequate teaching space was found to be a problem in major towns. Meetings were held with the Norwegian Refugee Council in Somaliland to discuss and agree on cooperation in Basic Education. UNICEF Somaliland staff held discussions with the Adventist and Development Relief Agency (ADRA) to explore the possibilities of collaboration in basic Education. ADRA supports 15 primary schools in Nugal, Puntland, through support of the European Commission. In Central/Southern Somalia, UNICEF staff met those of partner organizations including the Human Rights Committee for Somali Refugees and the Indian Ocean University who have initiated education programmes in 32 internally displaced persons (IDP) camps in Mogadishu.

In Jowhar, Central Somalia, UNICEF and Jowhar Women's Organization held neighbourhood meetings in four locations to advocate for girls' education.

As a result of mobilization, three new non-formal education centres have been opened in Jowhar. UNICEF-supported non-formal education initiatives in Somalia focus on helping young people who missed out on opportunities to attend formal education have a second chance to acquire basic skills of reading, writing and numeracy. The curriculum also has a component that teaches such skills as relating to one another, reproductive health, peace, conflict management and protection of the environment. Supplies: UNICEF donated nonformal education learning materials to the learning centre in Mandere village of Jowhar district. The centre has attracted many youth learners. Another donation was for furniture to Shanta Primary School of Baidoa which has 159 students. The school's construction was financed by the Shanta village community in collaboration with the Diaspora.

HIV/AIDS prevention and control update.

Danish mission: A Danish government mission visited HIV/AIDS prevention and control projects in Somaliland. The delegation that was in Somalia to evaluate projects that have been funded by Danish assistance also linked up with key partners who had benefited from the projects.

Advocacy: UNICEF staff held discussions with women, and youth groups and hospitals in Mogadishu on raising awareness on HIV/AIDS issues and women's empowerment. Women's organizations in Mogadishu run training courses for women and adolescent girls in non-formal education, home economics, handcraft-making, tailoring, child care, nursing, computer use, secretarial work and English language.

A Somali doctor from the Diaspora held a HIV/AIDS awareness session at Hayat Hospital in Mogadishu. The participants were civil society representatives, hospital staff, school students and university lecturers in Mogadishu.

Testing: UNICEF met staff of SOS Maternity Hospital, MSF-Spain Voluntary Counselling and Testing Centre and Hayat Hospital in Mogadishu to discuss establishment of voluntary counselling and testing services. Another meeting was held with members of the Somali Public Health Professionals Association who had carried out an assessment of 100 IDP camps in Mogadishu. The assessment indicated that awareness of HIV/AIDS was very low.

Child Protection update.

Mine risk education: UNICEF staff held discussions with the Somaliland Mine Action Center to review Mine Risk Education initiatives that the organization has undertaken in collaboration with UNICEF.

Training: In Puntland, UNICEF organized training in psychosocial care and counselling for 22 participants from different locations in Somalia. The objective of the training was to enhance the participants counselling knowledge and skills. booklets on the eradication of female genital mutilation. Twenty child protection advocates refreshed their skills in raising community awareness on protection and how to prevent abuse, neglect, exploitation and discrimination against children.

Child soldiers rehabilitation: The Elman Child Soldiers Rehabilitation and Reintegration project in Merka and Kismayo towns of Central and Southern Somalia continues. Some 120 former child soldiers are being rehabilitated in the current phase. The former child soldiers are benefiting from literacy, numeracy and vocational education.

If you have questions about the UNICEF Somalia Monthly Review please contact: Denise Shepherd-Johnson, Communication Officer. E-mail: OR Robert Kihara, Assistant Communication Officer. E-mail: Tel: 254-2-623958/ 623950/ 623862/ 623959/ 350410 Fax: 254-2-520640/ 623965

SOMALIA: Saudi beheading of Somalis "grossly unfair" - Amnesty says

NAIROBI, 8 Apr 2005 (IRIN) - The public execution of six Somali nationals in Saudi Arabia on Monday was a shocking abuse of human rights, according to Amnesty International (AI).

"Six Somalis were suddenly executed in public on 4 April without being informed in advance that their five-year prison sentences, which they had served - and also been lashed - by May 2004, had apparently been changed later to death sentences by a secret procedure," Martin Hill, Horn of Africa researcher for AI, said on Thursday.

Ali Sheikh Yusuf, Abdel-Fatar Ali Hassan, Abdullah Adam Abdullah, Hussein Haroon Mohamed, Abdul-Nur Mohamed Wali and Abdullah Hassan Abdu had been detained in a prison in Jeddah, one of Saudi Arabia's main cities, since their conviction for theft in May 1999.

AI said that the trial of the men, said to be migrant workers from Somali capital Mogadishu, had been inconsistent with international standards on fairness.

The six Somalis were unaware that they were at risk of death, according to AI, which said it had written to the Saudi minister of interior regarding the men's status, but had received no response.

Decrying the secrecy surrounding the Saudi Arabian criminal justice system, the human-rights watchdog said that most defendants and their families were not informed of the charges against them, nor of the progress of legal proceedings.

It further stated that defendants could be convicted solely on the basis of confessions obtained under duress, torture or deception.

Trial proceedings took place behind closed doors, AI said, and those accused had no right to legal representation - while in the case of foreign nationals, inadequate or no access to consular assistance was allowed.

AI put the total number of people executed in Saudi Arabia in the last four months at 51, almost two-thirds of which were foreign nationals.

It called on Saudi Arabia's King Fahd to commute all outstanding death sentences, and to bring Saudi trial proceedings into line with international standards.

According to the Somali press, human-rights groups in Mogadishu have also condemned the executions as illegal and contrary to both Islamic Shariah law and international law.

Source: United Nations Office for the Coordination of Humanitarian Affairs (OCHA) Date: 07 Apr 2005

Somalia: Humanitarian Update March 2005


The Somalia Transition Federal Government selected Baidoa and Jowhar as temporary relocation sites. In the last week of March fighting ensued in Baidoa. The situation remains tense.

Food Security

Despite sufficient Deyr rains that helped to end a four years drought and is expected to result in good harvests, many parts of Somalia continue to experience food insecurity especially Awdal region in Somaliland where malnutrition of children under five years is 20.3%.


Hargeisa and the route to Mandera and Gebiley were last month downgraded from UN Security Phase 4 to 3 while the rest of Somaliland remained on Phase 4.

Tsunami Update

Emergency needs in tsunami affected areas have largely been met. About 5% of the population is in a state of humanitarian emergency while 40% are experiencing livelihood crisis, requiring assistance until the next fishing season.

CAP 2005: Funding for projects within the Somalia CAP 2005 remain low with only 3% of the appealed funds covered as of 7th April, 2005.

New Government identifies relocation sites in Somalia

This month saw a series of developments unfold around the Transition Federal Government's (TFG) relocation and the deployment of a peace support mission. The TFG delegation which travelled into Somalia, between 24th February and 4th March, was generally well received, yet incidents of fighting and demonstrations occurred over issues of relocation and deployment of IGAD frontline states troops.

Conflicting interests by faction leaders remained at a deadlock during Parliament's session on 17th March, 2005. IGAD's communiqu, on 18 March reached a compromise by approving the deployment, of Sudanese and Ugandan troops to the peace support mission in a first phase. Other IGAD countries are expected to deploy in a subsequent phase.

On 21st March 2005, the Somali Council of Ministers voted to temporarily base the TFG in Baidoa and Jowhar until sufficient security is restored in Mogadishu. However, the vote took place in the absence of about 10 out of 74 ministers, who left the meeting.

Fighting erupted in Baidoa on 26th March, 2005, when faction militias attacked demonstrators in favour of the temporary relocation of the TFG to Baidoa. It is unclear how many people died or were injured as result of the fighting. International staff was relocated to Nairobi and National staff Wajjid Fighting was short lived but tensions remain high.

Any continued tensions in Baidoa will likely have an impact on the humanitarian situation, particularly on the livelihoods of the largely farming community. Many farmers have started preparing their land preparation of the Gu (long rains season) planting season. If the conflict continues, will interfere with the farming activities in the Bay region, thus affecting food availability and access.

Good Deyr rains ends drought but food security concerns remain

The Mayor of Berbera appealed for urgent UN assistance to combat locusts which were reported to have reached the eastern parts of Berbera in Somaliland. After an assessment by the Food Agriculture Organisation and Emergency Prevention System FAO/ EMPRES, together with the Ministry of Agriculture, it was established that infestation was not significant . Also, present conditions were not favourable for breeding. The FAO/EMPRES carried out a control operation on March 4-12 and Placed the area under observation.

A preliminary rapid interagency situation assessment of the Awdal region calls for immediate humanitarian interventions in water, food, health and livelihood support to mitigate against continuing drought conditions in the area. The assessment was carried out following an interagency meeting on 12 March 2005 to discuss reports of worsening food security in the region. According to UNICEF, 20.3% of children under five years of age were moderately malnourished, while 2% are severely malnourished. Anaemia was also observed among women and children. The assessment team says the security situation of the areas visited was stable and calm and could facilitate humanitarian interventions. The area is hosting pastoralist migrants from Shinille zone of Ethiopia who have increased by 30% compared to previous years thus exerting more pressure on limited natural resource. Livestock have poor body conditions due to scarcity of pasture, lack of water, diseases and long travel distance in search of water and pasture. This has in turn reduced food availability at household level (particularly milk production) as the communities rely mainly on livestock and livestock products. Veterinary services are almost nonexistent in the visited areas. OCHA will share the finalized report once available.

Meanwhile, exceptionally good deyr rains have ended the 4 years drought and led to above average cereal production in most cropping areas. Still, around 500,000 people remain in a state of Humanitarian Emergency or Livelihood Crisis.

In north eastern Somalia, the good rains improved overall condition of pastures and livestock yet the time it will take pastoralist communities to recover will depend on the outcome of the next gu and deyr seasons. In central Somalia, ongoing and recurrent civil tensions limit access to grazing, markets and other resources.

Malnutrition rates remain critically high in Gedo District

Food and civil insecurity have persistently affected the people of Northern Gedo district. According to FSAU food security categorization, the main livelihood groups of Bulet Xawa, Dolow and Luuq are experiencing chronic food insecurity with about 29% of the population classified as being in a state of either emergency or livelihood crisis and in need of continuing humanitarian assistance.

High malnutrition continue to be recorded in Northern Gedo in January and February. 30% of the average 100 children screened in Bulet Xawa MCH were acutely malnourished, and 40% of the average 200 children screened in Luuq MCH malnourished. A critical nutrition situation was recorded in Luuq District in October 2004. Despite the need, insecurity hinders relief operations and disrupts trade operations. Many roadblocks exist on the main trade routes and heavy tax extortion by the militias continues. Data from Belet Xawa TFC recorded high numbers of severely malnourished children of about 50 per month between November 2004 and January 2005. Most of the Belet Xawa TFC beneficiaries come from Belet Xawa town, as well as Malkariyey, Arracasse, Belet Amin IDP village and nearby villages of Dolow. A few cases come from villages across the Kenyan and Ethiopian borders.

Food insecurity, diseases, limited diet variety, poor sanitation, poor water quality and limited humanitarian access are some of the factors associated with the critical nutrition situation in Northern Gedo and the consistently high admission rate into the TFC. FSAU plans to establish a sentinel sites surveillance system in Northern Gedo in the coming months to monitor trends in the nutrition situation in the area. FSAU and partners also aim to undertake a nutrition assessment in Luuq or Bulet Xawa Districts in the course of 2005. (Source March FSAU Monthly Nutrition Update).

Somalia tsunami affected in livelihood crisis

According to the Interagency Assessment Report released this month, existing emergency responses in the form of health, shelter, non food items and food have met immediate humanitarian needs.

About 5% of the total population 2,200 people) are in a state of humanitarian emergency and 40% of the total population (17,600 people) face livelihood This is based on the Food and Livelihood Security Classification developed for the Tsunami context. At least 50% of the assessed population (22,000 people) require sustained resource transfer in the form of food and/or assistance until the next fishing season in 2005.


This is necessary in order for households access basic food needs and alleviate financial pressures due to reduced fishing incomes. It is also contigent on the fishermen having access to fishing equipment in the next fishing season.

Local communities were affected by different shocks over the past year drought, floods, freezing temperatures, continued livestock ban, civil tension, and the tsunami), straining social support mechanisms and dampening the regional economy.

The team observed that the estimates of the overall impact of the Tsunami in of infrastructure damage, number of affected, and overall severity were generally less than previously reported in earlier rapid assessments.


The areas most affected by the Tsunami are Hafun, Bender Beyla, Dharin Raqas Kulub, where substantial damage to and infrastructure occurred. In view fact that the affected communities tied to the fishing industry, of which of the gear and equipment was destroyed or damaged, the current priority is the rehabilitation of the fishing sector.

Another need is the provision of shelter. Hafun, Bender Beyla, Darin Ragas, and were badly affected in terms of damage permanent structures and the need for immediate reconstruction is highest and critical in Hafun due to its location and to high winds. OCHA's Mid Term Review the Indian Ocean Earthquake that caused tsunami in December 2004 notes that the of Hafun require urgent support for outright reconstruction of destroyed permanent Some operational agencies, such as UNICEF, UNHCR and UN-HABITAT, have already recovery activities with existing funds. remaining tsunami recovery needs that funding will be addressed through the the Somalia CAP.

In view of the changes in the humanitarian context and in light of progress there is now a need to focus on the humanitarian needs of other vulnerable communities throughout Somalia. With attention diverted toward tsunami, other life-saving projects in aimed at other equally, if not more vulnerable groups, risk being jeopardised.

In reference to the Somalia CAP the MTR notes that livelihood insecurity overall vulnerability persist in numerous of Somalia, in addition to the tsunami- areas. Other vulnerable groups, including and destitute pastoralists, live in very difficult conditions with minimum access services and income generating opportunities.


The impact of sustained drought some areas of the north has increased child malnutrition. An estimated 900,000 face humanitarian and livelihood crises require urgent assistance, especially in the Failure to address the needs of these communities could increase security risks and create potential challenges for the overall stability country.

Meanwhile, a new agency in the Humanitarian Affairs and Disaster Management Agency (HADMA) was formed by presidential decree to coordinate all emergency livelihood recovery efforts. Its aim strengthen the coordination between government and humanitarian actors. As a HADMA will develop an overall Puntland Humanitarian response plan. Apr 08 2005

Renewed possibilities and hope in long walk to peace, Somaliland case gives hope to Southern Sudan

By: Iqbal Jhazbhay, University of South Africa

Currently, the first draft of Sudan's new history of political transition is in the making. This is the time of newly re-energised possibilities. A changing climate is unfolding: from military politics of war embraced by the Government of Sudan and the Sudan People's Liberation Movement (SPLM/A), to the embrace of the politics of dialogue, negotiation and peace.

In Sudan's capital, Khartoum, SPLM leader, James Wani, is leading a delegation to begin the long and painful reconciliatory journey with the government of Sudan towards implementing the Comprehensive Peace Agreement. Africans and the world recently witnessed this peace agreement in the city of Nairobi, Kenya. The current peace implementation process starts with the interim constitution of Sudan, which needs to be approved by Sudan's national parliament and the SPLM's National Liberation Council.

In South Africa's capital, Tshwane, the SPLM leadership and its cadres, led by the Movement's First Vice-Chairman and SPLA chief of staff, this week met with South African ministers; representatives of various government departments and the University of South Africa; local government mayors and the ANC leadership. This wide range of meetings were part of a programme to exchange ideas on political transition, constitution making, governance and delivery of basic needs to the people.

President Thabo Mbeki, speaking on 31 December last year at the signing ceremony in Nairobi, said the people of Sudan expect the SPLM/A and the government of Sudan to build schools, clinics, roads, and work for real dialogue among Sudanese.

This cardinal challenge of delivery of the basic needs to all the people of Sudan - in the South, West (including Darfur), Central and East of Sudan -was uppermost in the minds of the cadres of the South Sudanese leadership who visited South Africa. Equally on their minds and in their hearts was the challenge of reconciliation, peace and stability.

The SPLM/A leadership is acutely aware of the difficult political environment for implementation of the peace agreement. They explored, therefore, all possible options during their meetings in Tshwane, Nelspruit, Johannesburg and Cape Town, to avoid potential sources of failure to Sudan's emerging peace and stability. These include the range of militias, factions or leaders, who oppose peace and use violence to undermine peace; difficult neighbours who assist spoilers and oppose peace (Sudan has nine neighbouring countries); and poverty, which make all Sudanese vulnerable to war merchants who peddle commodities like timber and gems.

With Sudan bordering the Democratic Republic of Congo (DRC), South Africa's peace initiatives with the African Union (AU) and the United Nations (UN) in the Great Lakes area are inter-connected in the consolidated effort to promote the delicate peace in the Horn of Africa and Great Lakes regions.

In this respect, correctly, a number of important international institutions have noted that the AU "has been the most proactive international institution in seeking an end to the conflict". Indeed, this is in large part due to the vision and determination of the AU's Professor Alpha Konare to consolidate the African-led agenda. Konare, during his visit to South Africa, made time on Sunday to meet with the SPLM/A leadership and its cadres, in order to frankly discuss issues of concern and engage the issues for implementing the peace agreement.

African countries have responded well to Professor Alpha Konare's call for African troops for the Sudan. South Africa has mobilised police and army officers to join the AU's Mission in Sudan (AMIS). The European Union and the USA have provided important logistical and financial support to assist AMIS to effectively carry out the bulk of its field tasks in Sudan.

In the context of the progress being made towards peace, the timing of the UN Security Council resolution on Darfur is counter productive. Last week, the UN Security Council passed a resolution referring the human rights situation in Darfur to the International Criminal Court (ICC). The list of 51 suspected persons, which was passed on to the ICC, includes senior Sudanese government and army officials, some of whom were instrumental in reaching the peace agreement. The ICC list, included militia and rebel leaders. This is the first time a case has been referred to the court in The Hague by the UN Security Council.

Currently, the atmosphere in Khartoum is tense and the heat is on the government of Sudan and the army. Sudanese President al-Bashir is quoted as saying he swore "thrice in the name of Almighty Allah that I shall never hand any Sudanese national to a foreign court".

The central question is: in what way, at this critical and delicate juncture of Sudan's political transition, have the UN Security Council members contributed to the making of peace and stability in Sudan?

Clearly, SPLM/A leaders are equally under pressure in dealing with this fragile situation as it begins the implementation of this regionally and internationally brokered peace agreement.

On a related front, South Africa currently chairs the AU's Ministerial Committee on Post-Conflict Reconstruction in Sudan. This Committee includes foreign ministers of Algeria, Egypt, Ethiopia, Gabon, Kenya, Nigeria, Senegal and Sudan.

Recently, South African Foreign Minister Nkosazana Dlamini-Zuma led the delegation of African foreign ministers on a tour of Sudan to assess first hand Sudan's physical, psychological, political and social reconstruction needs.

In the coming days, on 11-12 April, this AU committee will brief its international partners on Sudan's practical requirements on the occasion, when Norway will be hosting a Sudan Donor Conference in Oslo. Delegates at the Oslo conference will surely be grappling with the challenges of delivery of a better basic life for all Sudanese, seeking to embrace the principle of unity in diversity throughout Sudan.

The South Sudanese leadership may also be considering the question of national unity or the secession of South Sudan. Will peaceful co-existence between South Sudan and North Sudan be possible after the interim 6 years, when a referendum will be held on self determination? Initial economic indicators suggest that if the current economic development commitments to South Sudan are made over the next six years, the South Sudanese will enjoy a yearly income which will be the highest in East Africa. This debate among African leaders and the masses has begun.

In this respect, the AU's refreshing initiative to send a fact-finding mission to look into the issue of Somaliland's case for self-determination in the Horn of Africa, has given hope to many South Sudanese and peace activists who are doubtful of the AU's credentials in upholding the principle of self-determination. Many SPLM/A leaders believe the international community is unable to uphold the international principle of self-determination and justice, and have given rhetorical preference to the international principle of territorial integrity at the expense of the principle of self-determination and justice.

Mercifully, this debate on African continental coherence, unity, secession, the interests of justice, self-determination and the principle of territorial integrity has been examined with reasonable depth by African international law experts and analysts. The interests of world peace and stability require that, where politically possible, the division of existing states should be managed peacefully and by negotiation, like the case of Eritrea.

Reaching back to the threads of our earlier discussion, where we have stood for a new political transition in Sudan, seeking equity for all humanity, good political governance and collective international action and solidarity, we cohere, hope, pray and mobilise for an equalising Sudan, where all parts of Sudan experience peace, stability and prosperity.

Peace activists will be watching closely as all the players in Sudan and the international community, remain committed to the task of implementing the security arrangements; monitoring the peace agreements details and; delivering promptly the promised aid to meet the basic needs of Sudan's people, such as food, houses, schools, clinics and roads.

Recently, the government of Sudan relinquished the opportunity to host the next AU Summit, in July 2005. Libya will now host the AU's next Summit.

When Sudan does host the AU Summit it will be another appropriate occasion for us to write, evaluate, and continue to mobilise, support and learn more about peace in Sudan within the Horn of Renewed Possibilities and Hope.

** Iqbal Jhazbhay teaches at the University of South Africa and recently edited a special edition of the journal, African Security Review, on the Horn of Africa.

Source: Apr-07-2005.

In defense of decency

To: Chairman Faisal, Cc: (UCID) party, Hargeisa-Somaliland

From: Ibrahim Mead, Ottawa, Canada

I am here defending decency and not any thing else. The statement attributed to Gabileyans collectively, is wrong. One cannot accuse 50,000 people of some thing one person allegedly said! That is said, I did not like what I have read regarding the indecent words unwisely employed by the chairman of Gabiley against a leader of a party (Hon. Faisal) who has the standing of a president, protocol wise. I don't understand neither do I agree how such languages tic vulgarity uncharacteristic of "Gabilians was played out especially in the collective sense!

Allah said, "And the parable of an evil word is that of an evil tree. It is torn up by the root from the surface of the earth. It has no stability" And as such we have to understand that indecency has no stability.

I, Ibrahim M Mead, in my capacity as a "Gabilian" wish to apologize the leadership of OCID of what ever the words unwisely employed by, or attributed to another Gabilian may cause to Mr. Faisal Ali, the chairman of OCID party, and the party in general. And therefore peace.

Gabileh is the burial home of thousand and one "ouliyaa" good servants of Allah. It was the center of religious teachings in our Somaliland. Gabilay was the vanguard and the first to take up arms against the fascist regime of late Siyad Barre until Somaliland was liberated and yet despite all that lost its rights of one man- one vote thereafter! Disfranchised in other words! Moreover, it is the most wronged place by the very people she sacrificed her sons and daughters for them, thus far!

What has been attributed to the mayor of Gabilay was indecent, out of bound and below the belt! That seems an act of "Guulwadeen."And again that is not Gabiley's culture and it is unfortunate for the mayor to look like he played a role of a "Guulwaday" I know the mayor is a young out standing person who respect others, I am sure he did not mean that, however some misunderstanding might happen.

There were roamers that the same amount that (reportedly) went to Gabilay also went to Burao and Borama except that Gabilay's amount happened to be publicized more than others. One may assume that the mayor may wonder why the OCID chairman attached what Gabilay has received and not what others has received already! But that is not the point. The question is the money! And Faisal has every right as an opposition party leader to question the money. It is not the First lady, it is all about the money again!

However Mr. Faisal would have addressed the matter differently semantically while he was still seeking some answers about the money. I am not here to say for Faisal but I am sure that what happened was a matter of semantics when not said well. In conclusion the mayor of Gabilay was wrong to employ such obscene language against a leader and I here advise him to retreat what he has allegedly said.

The First lady doesn't need a Gabileyan to defend her; there are so many Ministers and others who would readily jump on her side wrong or right! There is no short of "Guulwadayaal" in the city and else where. In this drama the name of Gabilay has been trashed and tarnished and not only that of Mr. Faisal Ali.

My Allah, the owner of the heavens and the earth and what is between them for give us all and lead us on the right path.

SOMALIA: Malnutrition over 20 percent, says UN agency

NAIROBI, 6 Apr 2005 (IRIN) - Somalia is continuing to experience food shortages, with some areas reporting malnutrition levels of more than 20 percent, according to the UN Food and Agriculture Organisation.

In its March update on food security and nutrition in Somalia, the FAO's Food Security Analysis Unit (FSAU) noted that in the southern region of Juba Valley, more than a quarter of children screened were at risk of malnutrition.

In the central region of Galgadud, levels of malnutrition were almost as high, at 24 percent.

"Limited services available for malnourished children in Somalia have forced families to travel long distances to Galkayo [central Somalia] in search of therapeutic care," the report stated.

It also quoted an interagency tsunami assessment, which said that 22,000 people along the northeastern tsunami-affected coastline would need "sustained resource transfer over the next eight months".

Elsewhere, "civil insecurity continues to disrupt pastoral and agro-pastoral livelihoods" in part of the western region of Bakool, according to the analysis unit.

Meanwhile, in the self-declared republic of Somaliland, in the region of Karin, solitary locusts had been sighted in isolated incidents. The FAO's Emergency Prevention System for Transboundary Animals and Plant Pests in Hargeysa, the region's capital, was planning a mission to assess the incidence and infestation levels.

Somalia's climate remained dry, as is the norm for the time of year, but climate experts were predicting below normal Gu rains between April and June. The Gu rains usually contribute towards 70 percent to 75 percent of annual food and fodder production, and are therefore of significant importance to overall food security.

FSAU noted that sorghum (a staple crop) produced during the extended Deyr rains - usually only from November to January - remained in the market at significantly reduced prices. The harvests in the southeastern region of Shabelle, and Juba, had been affected by moisture stress, insect damage and hot winds.

Heavy rains in Somalia over the past year have ended a cycle of drought that had lasted for more than three years.

Source:, 06 Aprl 2005

Somaliland Societies In Europe (SSE)Conference Launch

SSE - Europe - 05 April, 2005

6th April, The day Somali National Movement (SNM) was established in London 24 years ago.

SSE launches: The first Somaliland Societies in Europe International Conference United In Making A Difference - Somaliland Communities in Europe (Diaspora) and Somaliland:


1ST - 2ND SEPTEMBER 2005, London, United Kingdom

PRESENTING Internationally Renowned and Distinguished Experts (including Somalilanders) addressing Migration & Refugee Issues, Human Rights and Democracy, Governance, Re-settlement, Integration, Community Cohesion and Media.

Also Staging Grand Exhibition History, Culture, Folklore, Art, Photos, Presentations.

Make sure you are part of it! and for further details please contact: Eid Ali Ahmed, Chair Abdulkadir Maacalesh, Secretary, Email: Email:, Tel: + 44 (0) 29 2038 3317 Tel: + 44 (0) 12 0453 5093, Mobile: 07868736151 Mobile: 07984142942 Aprl 05 2005

Reckless articles Must Stop: They are Abridge to a Genuine National Civil Discourse:


Constructive criticism is very healthy and both well-established democracies and fledgling ones need it. To aspiring democracies free press and freedom of expression, is what taking in balanced nutrients is to living organisms. Criticism in general of your government, community, organization or any other entity should be based on ideology, policy, an issue, or principle, but if it is merely based on clannism, unsubstantiated innuendos or clan hatred, it is nothing but an exercise on futility. It won't serve any useful purpose, it only arouses past sentiments, events, animosities, suspicions and grievances now relegated under the rug for the sake of the general good, big picture and the common good of the community.

Again Newton's third law of motion (for every action there is an equal and opposite reaction) will be at play. These kinds of disparaging tirades, will just trigger the same amount of equally tasteless responses, which our communities don't need at this day and age. Our society already put a huge mileage into the dream of building a peaceful, and unified society with a common purpose and interest. Surely there will always be little mistakes and problems here and there. Remember the process of nation building in Somaliland is in an advanced stage. At this level we are well ahead of many other struggling nation states in Africa, the middle East, Asia and Latin America. We can call what these breed of opinionated writers are doing here,is an attempt to turn the clock back.

These writers instead should have been furious with the dysfunctional, teethless and debating organizations such as IGAD, the so-called AU and even the United Nations, for their intransigence, recalcitrance and denial to acknowledge the measurable progress, and the fledging civil society Somaliland has built. If they were real organizations, they would have encouraged, commended and recognized the hard work, political maturity and the relative good governance Somaliland has already realized. They would have to pressure and ask these country clubs, how come they have bestowed unconditional recognition to dysfunctional and failing states such as Congo, Rwanda, Burundi, Sierraleone, Liberia, Togo, Burkino Faso, Nepal, Tajikistan, Armenia, Djibouti, Eritrea, Georgia and many others. While in the meantime, they never took the opportunity to even have a look as to what is happening in Somaliland. It is crystal clear, that these meani! ngless organizations always reward and prefer disorder and dysfunction to good governance and order.

Apparently many of these organizations as a matter of fact outlived their usefulness. They are nothing but vestiges of the past. Tell me one conflict the Au and IGAD resolved during their tenure. In their watch dozens of devastating sectarians wars were raging in the Horn of Africa for the last thirty years. In their watch Rwandan genocide has taken place. In their watch the Northern Arab-dominated Sudanese government has waged genocidal wars against the Christian south for twenty years, and at the present they are waging another racist and genocidal war against the African Muslims of Darfur region. The Somali clan supremacists wars were raging over 15 years now, following two years of conferences, they came up with a so-called hotchpotch of a government in exile for the warlords, by the warlords and to the warlords. Adding more fuel to the fire, they dare to say that Ethiopian forces will keep the peace in Southern Somali! a. Sending Ethiopian troops to Southern Somalia, is like sending Indian forces to keep the peace in Pakistan or sending Israeli forces to keep the peace in Egypt, Syria or Lebanon. This is a vivid demonstration of their ineptness, incompetence, ignorance of history and above all their lack of vision.

Unsubstantiated allegations:

Recently the Internet in general and Somaliland sites in particular are bustling with outlandish innuendos, false allegations, half truths, fabrications and wishful thinking articles. Many of these articles has one thing in common, they embarked on an open season of baseless attacks on president Rayaale. They are in most cases giving a heavy dose of emphasis on his mistakes, while completely ignoring the good things his government is doing. some of the articles are so crude and below all standards of journalism ethics, so even mentioning their authors' names is a waste of time. I wonder where some of those authors got their information. They may be getting their information from another Somaliland I don't know. I usually don't name names but, the most rambunctious of them was recently posted on Awdalnew. The writing of those articles coincide with a time, Somaliland needs the unity of all its citizens more than any other time in the past.

This rumbling article was replete with unsubstantiated and unconfirmed stories, the writer didn't mention the source of his information. He mentioned a wide corruption in Rayaale's government, but again he failed to disclose the source of his false assertions. The abrasive article in fact was short on specifics and examples: He said Somaliland is compromising its territorial integrity, that is completely false. The article has a heavy dose of lies, fabrications, and blatant accusation without any backing. It was a combination of threats, warmongering and blatant exaggerations. This kind of virulent invective at this time serves no purpose. Everything we do in this world has an objective, I wonder what was the purpose of this spiteful harangue.

The article was full of information which in no way was news worthy, and short on suggestions and recommendations. This rudderless manifesto or manifestos serves no purpose other than unnecessarily hurting many people.

Analysis: This kind of invective and unproven allegations, reckless assertions amount to nothing but street hassling, kill the messenger syndrome and childish wishful thinking. you can always criticize you government in a civil society, but your criticism should be based on facts and figures. The source of your information should be verifiable and corroborated. It must in the meantime, be followed by suggestions and recommendations. That is what civilized people who care about their countries and people often do. They do not resort to below the belt blows, bizarre and outlandish allegations. Awdalnews is mostly read by civil society intellectuals, and reasonable people. They do not tolerate unsubstantiated attacks and innuendos against a popularly elected leader. In a civil society, there are traditional ways of changing governments and leaders. It is called voting and happens in the ballot box.

Those who disagree with the government must wait the time when ballots are brought to their neighborhoods, where they can deliver their votes. This aforesaid article was spiteful. it was polarizing and Clannish hatred is written all over it.I have spilled out the modern clan structure of the Somali-speaking ethnic groups in one of my earlier articles. The clan is not a hierarchical structures on the lines of corporations, NGOes, Governments and other private or public agencies. The clan is a horizontal or egalitarian entity where all members are on the same level, regarding running the affairs of the clan.

There is no difference between an intellectual with 25 or 30 years of education, and somebody with a very limited education or no education.There is no difference between a 15 year old teenager and 70 year old person. Clan decisions are usually non binding degrees, and members are not obligated to up hold them. This article and others constantly keep on invoking and parading the SNM card. We all know the SNM waged an armed struggle against Siyad Bare's despotic regime. So far that is a good and a noble idea. But you must remember the SNM on the other hand has made many mistakes also, while conducting their armed struggle against the former dictator. They were also based on one clan out of a number of Somaliland clans. What they did and didn't is not important at this juncture. But, I wonder what is the purpose of repeatedly citing the SNM name by some individuals recently. Does it mean, the SNM alone has a birth right to rule the country? Does it mean! ; Mr. Silanyo was an SNM leader therefore, he deserves to rule the country more than Rayaale? Are they using it as a tool of exclusion against other non SNM communities? I really don't know the answer at this point, because I can't get inside the minds of those writers. The educated class, business leaders, religious community leaders, traditional leaders and others are supposed to educate the average community members and advise them, as to how to do the right thing. When nations and communities are led by bad leaders, communities pay a high price.

The list of bad leaders who led their people into cataclysmic disasters is very long. A few examples of the long list of unscrupulous leaders is as follows: Hitler, Mussolini, Mengistu, Zinewi, Guelle, Afwargis, Siyad Barre, Mobutu, Slobadan Melosvich, Stalin, Anastesia Samosa, Pinocette, Somali warlords and others. We must be vigilant at all times, to make sure that our leaders will not cross the line prescribed by the constitution and the rule of law. If people stood up and speak out early on, the sesimic tremors; bad leaders inflicted on whole nations should been avoided. Some of the aforementioned are still doing and practicing, what doomed their predecessors and their nations for the matter in the past. Zinewi is still practicing and aggressively pursuing what Menelik was doing in the 19th century, Afwargis is destroying a 30 year long Eriterian struggle for independence.

Again your criticism should be objective and based on concrete facts. All of us should strive very hard to criticize, and correct our leaders, but your criticism should be objective and based on concrete facts. The article totally ignored the good things happening in Somaliland. it deliberately overlooked the addition of new faculties to Amoud University. It showed a huge oversight, regarding the massive grassroots efforts; all Somaliland communities are engaged; for launching Burao University. It didn't mention the community effort exhibited by the people of Bakke, when they started building a road linking their town to Borama city and eventually to Hargeisa. It also ignored to mention the grassroots efforts Amoud University students and other community members conducted recently, when they were building a road between Amoud University campus and the city of Borama. He didn't mention the first hospital for the mentally ill, recently opened in Borama. The article overlooked the government banning of the notorious plastic bags in Somaliland. There are also numerous other success stories I can't cover here. These kinds of articles should be condemned, chastised and admonished by the people of good will, who want to see the hard won Somaliland Independence succeed and prosper. This kind of shooting from the hip articles are to be rejected. This irresponsible articles are not even allowed to be published. They are a breach to all laws of decency and an affront to responsible and ethical journalism.


Apparently, articles of this kind are taking us back to square one. They are reminding us the dark days of blatant clannism, conflict, suspicion and conflagration. They will off course hinder the process of transition from a clan based tribal society to a constitution based civil and democratic society. We are all aspiring to lead our communities to greener pastures, but such clan hatred tinged articles represent a huge obstacle to the noble steps our society, is taking towards the building of a non tribal civil society.

Meanwhile, I am not sure, but some of these writers may be Mr. Silanyo supporters, who didn't get over their presidential election loss, of 3 years ago. Gentlemen if that is the case, please get ready for the next presidential elections, and come up with who ever you want to become your candidate and move on. When two people compete for something, one of them will lose. If your candidate was the one who lost this time around, you would have to congratulate the winner and get ready for the next round of elections. That is how civil societies work. The writers of such articles seem to be people; bent on turning the clock back and taking us back to the infamous times of tribal segregation, oppression and lack of freedom of expression. These people should be stopped on their tracks. These doom sayers should change their clumsy and outdated tactics and come up with a better way of criticizing their government

Reported By: Suleiman Egeh. Email:

New Law Brings Elections Closer In Somaliland

IRIN - Hargeisa, Somaliland - 5 April, 2005

NAIROBI, 5 April (IRIN) - The parliament of the self-declared independent republic of Somaliland, in northwest Somalia, passed a bill into law on Saturday that would pave the way for national elections.

"All three political parties are in agreement over the bill," Ali Ilmi Gelle, Somaliland's deputy information minister, told IRIN on Tuesday.

Saturday's bill was passed - by the lower house of parliament - despite serious disagreements between Somaliland President Dahir Riyale Kahin and parliament, with several legislators demanding a national census and the clear demarcation of regional borders before they would approve it.

The bill's endorsement, according to IRIN sources, is likely to quell discord over the date of the parliamentary election, originally slated for 29 March, but since postponed.

"We have not yet set an official date for the election, but we expect it to be held sometime this year," Ilmi said.

Observers have criticised the fact that polling booths will only be stationed in regional capitals, a move they say would deprive thousands of people living in the countryside of the right to vote. However, Ilmi told IRIN: "About 70 to 80 percent of the country will get the chance to vote in the elections."

Another cause of dissent over the election could be the allocation of parliamentary seats on a clan basis, rather than a one-person-one-vote basis. This is a remnant of the parliamentary system of 1960, when Somaliland briefly got international recognition as an independent state before joining Somalia.

In 2001, Somaliland held a referendum, in which a majority of the population backed its self-declared independence. Two years later, the country had its first multi-party presidential election, which was won by Riyale of the ruling Unity of Democrats party.

Somaliland, having broken away from the rest of Somalia in 1991, has managed to avoid much of the anarchy that has dogged Somalia over the past 15 years. The territory is, however, embroiled in a border dispute with the northeastern semi-autonomous state of Puntland, over the regions of Sanaag and Sool.

Source:, 06 Aprl 2005

Information Highway

Yvette Lopez - Hargeisa, Somaliland - 04 April, 2005

Telesom internet subscribers like me have been seeing more and more of WebSENSE lately. WebSENSE is a blocking software program used by one of internet providers in the country.

This is how it works: Surfing song lyrics when you're with friends playing the guitar to while away time on Fridays (our only non-working day) for example has proven to be frustrating. Why? Because anything about entertainment is blocked. (There's no place where you'd find live entertainment to listen to, so if you or your friends have the talent, you have to do it yourself).

Let's try work related information. Our colleagues working in our HIV/AIDS program couldn't get articles or reference materials, because most of the information are categorized as Adult Content , therefore are banned from access to the public.

Just a few minutes ago, I was about to check a google generated (subscribers are emailed links about their chosen subject) news from Aljazeerah's online site about federalism and Somaliland, I couldn't because it falls under Advocacy Groups, again it is a no-entry zone. This is interesting because I was able to link other news articles to Aljazeerah previously, is it because it concerns federalism? Maybe.

Why limit the search online? Well because there are no bookshops in Hargeisa. Business Technology Center, the only place that sells good variety of books from abroad closed down months ago. Libraries are limited, 2 University Libraries one in Hargeisa and 1 in Amoud University in Borama 2 hours travel from the capital.

Gandi Public Library, is the only one in the country. It was established by a Somalilander from the diaspora and now have young energetic staff that runs the institution. Their list of library patrons are growing, therefore the need to scale up their collection.

Another one is the ILO established resource center in the city center. It is where the ICD initiated Somaliland collection of literature is housed. Again, the choices are still very limited.

Access to information remains to be a problem. The 4 internet providers in the country could've helped but then obviously access to the type of information is regulated.

SOURCE: April 04, 2005

Perserverance Pays

Women with disabilities in this country experience double discrimination, as women and as people with disabilities. They are given names, labels and ridiculed, people look away embarrassed by their existence. "They said we couldn't bear children, become good mothers for we are not able to do the work expected of us as wives, they said we cannot serve our men and family" Nura, a leader of HAN said.

It was last year when they organized themselves as a group. It's was a cry for recognition, "We exist and this is our situation, look at us." Anab the chairperson said. HAN started their collective effort by providing support to handicap women students. They encouraged girls and adult women to continue their education. They engaged government officials to be involved in HAN activities and local non-government organizations that have long forgotten their plight as citizens of this country. They made themselves heard and continued to mobilize.

Like any other new organization, HAN experienced difficulties in standing on its own. They rented a small office and started a kindergarten for children of 4-7 years and initiated an adult literacy class for women in the afternoon. Like any person with disability mobility poses a problem. HAN thought that if they could only own a bus to bring them back and forth then there will be no excuse for their students not to attend school.

Since last year, they have been collecting contributions from individuals, local organizations, international non-government organizations and businessmen. In a place where almost everyone is in need of money, this is not an easy task. But they persisted and persevered.

Last week, as we busied ourselves discussing their constitution and ways of improving their financial policies, Anab dragged me outside their office to show me this:

These children with disability don't have to worry about transportation because HAN's women leaders worked hard to ensure that nothing will stop them from getting their first taste of education. I could still see Anab's proud smile as I write this entry. Indeed perseverance pays.

Source:, 06 Aprl 2005

Awadal Residents Should Not Participate In Somaliland's Upcoming Parliament Elections

Mohamed F Yabarag - London, UK - 4 April, 2005

Only a few weeks ago the opposition parties and a large section of the Somaliland communities were promising doom and gloom following the debacle of the country's upcoming parliament elections, which was initially nominated by the president to take place on the 29th of March, but postponed by his government indefinitely until a further date is appointed. This has created a lot of confusions among most Somalilanders and many were asking themselves if the current government led by Mr Rayaale is honest about the whole issue of parliamentary elections. Some politicians from the opposition parties, mainly from KULMIYE and to some extent UCID, were even threatening with a "Ukrainian style of protests and disobedience" in order to oust the current parliament and the government led by Mr Rayaale. The president and his government were continuously blamed for this fiasco and rightly so, since they had an ample time to sort out this mess.

So, what is the change of heart by the opposition now? Why a president who was unpopular among the opposition and many sections of the community has now become so popular overnight that the same opposition groups who were slating him not so long ago are now singing his songs? The answer is simple. He caved in to the demands of certain groups who wanted the continuation of the status quo without giving the slightest thoughts to his decisions and the effects they will have on other communities, including those from his constituency. The president was wrong when he rejected the motion overwhelmingly taken by both houses, the House of Elders and the House of Representatives that the country should have an election based on one man, one vote. This would have meant that the country should conduct a national census and a demarcation of Somaliland regions, towns and villages. It would have also meant a postponement of parliament elections to, may be, a year or so. However, when the time of election comes, it would have meant that the country had sowed the seeds of real democracy for the future generations. It would have meant an establishment of a less complicated system of democracy in which our MP's are elected and a less hassle for future generations.

The president is also dead wrong when he opted for this arbitrary, unfair, illegitimate and divisive system in which our parliamentarians will be elected, even if it is for this term only. Somaliland people don't want half measures. They need full measures no matter how long it takes to achieve them. In full measures, and only in full measures alone hat we will be able have a fair system based on one man one vote. The half measures devised and designed with the help of the president, accepted by the opposition groups who were hell bent to destroy the current administration not so long ago and now endorsed by the House of Representative are nothing short of injustice. It is a complete cock up intended to appease the opposition and those who prefer status quo to a real democracy. It is a system that the president and his government chose simply to prolong their reign. It is unfair to the people of Somaliland, particularly to the people of Awadal who were given a mere laughable 13 seats despite their region being one of the populous in the whole Somaliland regions. Worst of all, this system gives more seats to people whose constituencies an election is unlikely to take place and whose loyalties towards Somaliland has a big question mark. It is beggars believe to even contemplate adapting such a system, let alone making it the way forward for the people of Somaliland.

The people of Awadal and those who are in a similar disadvantageous position as far as parliamentary seats allocation is concerned should reject this unfair system, which could spell disaster for our people if not reversed. The people of Awdal are demanding nothing short of their fare share of seats and on the basis of one man, one vote. Anything short of that will be rejected with resounding NO by the residents of Awdal region and hopefully any other community that feels the same way. Let it be known for everyone in Somaliland that the 1960 parliament allocation system is non starter for the people of Awdal.

Transplanting Tukuls In The Somali Desert

UNHCR - Harrirad and Hargeisa - 31 March, 2005

HARRIRAD, North-west Somalia, March 29 (UNHCR) - The former exiles of Harrirad don't waste any time. Just minutes after climbing down from the UNHCR trucks that brought them home from 15 years in a refugee camp, they're already putting up houses.

Using beams and even cardboard sheets frugally carted from the camp on the Ethiopian side of the border, they're energetically reassembling the tukuls - traditional dome-shaped structures - they took down just a day earlier.

From a tiny, sleepy town of just 67 structures, Harrirad has mushroomed into the Somali desert's version of a boom town, thanks to entrepreneurial former refugees who have taken a one-hour drive home from Aisha refugee camp in eastern Ethiopia back to their homeland.

"Two years ago you couldn't even buy a bottle of water or a cold drink here," said Amal Yasin Ibrahim, a UNHCR employee who travels to the border several times a month - over rutted goat tracks that pass for roads - to help the returning refugees. "Now every shop has a fridge. This town is really progressing fast. Nearly every day there's something new available" in the shops the former refugees have opened to serve the burgeoning population.

All over Somaliland - particularly in the capital, Hargeisa, and the large town of Borama - former refugees have come home to help rebuild their country. The self-declared independent state of Somaliland is not recognized internationally, but it's an enclave of relative peace and stability in North-west Somalia, a country long tortured by violence.

It's not surprising that returnees - assisted by investments by the UN refugee agency - are the engine of redevelopment, since nearly everyone in the country fled their homes at some point during the civil war between 1988 and 1991, when Siad Barre's regime was toppled and Somaliland declared independence.

"Somalilanders as a whole were all refugees at one point," says Abdulrahman Hassan, a consultant on returnee issues with the Somaliland Ministry of Resettlement, Rehabilitation and Repatriation (MRRR).

"In 1988 there was indiscriminate killing and people had to flee," he adds. "The only difference between the people here is when they came back. Some came back in 1991 and some are coming back now."

And so has he, after 26 years abroad. During that time he managed to learn flawless English, pick up two university degrees in the United States and acquire Canadian citizenship.

"There's been a real brain-drain and some of us have to come back and help," he says. "The economy is growing. While the international community is ignoring the country, the Somali diaspora is coming from all over the world, some of them speaking Dutch, some speaking Finnish. They are coming back and building the country."

Even if they are not so educated and prosperous, refugees are coming home in high spirits. Take the woman, well into her 70s, who came home last month to discover that her son is now deputy governor of Awdal region, which encompasses the growing town of Borama.

"You can never imagine how excited and happy she was to come back home and then to see me as the deputy governor of this region. She couldn't believe it, " the man in question, Mohamed Hassan Ahmed, recalled the day after his mother's return from Aisha camp in eastern Ethiopia.

Despite her advanced age, his mother is a bundle of energy. "She was bragging to me that she is going to feed me. She was saying, 'You don't have to worry about having a job. I am going to start a small business and I will support you and your whole family.'"

Such success is not in store for everyone. Some 90 percent of returnees still don't have a steady source of income even years after their return, and many live on remittances from more successful relatives abroad.

Even so, after decades of convulsions, Somalilanders are simply happy the war is over. "As long as one has got a peaceful mind and a peaceful country, there are many opportunities," says the deputy governor. "As long as we have peace, that's good enough."

And how much has the country changed in the last 14 years? Just ask consultant Abdulrahman. MRRR's offices occupy what were once the torture cells of Siad Barre's police. Even his own sister was imprisoned there because her husband was fighting against the former ruler.

Now Abdulrahman feels quiet satisfaction every day when he goes to work: "I am proud to work in a place where my fellow Somalilanders used to be tortured but now is a place where we are happily bringing them home."

By Kitty McKinsey, In Harrirad and Hargeisa

Source:, 31 Mar 2005

SOPRI Invites Submission Of Papers For Somaliland Convention

SOPRI - Los Angeles, USA - 31 March, 2005

The Somaliland Policy and Reconstruction Institute ( SOPRI) invites the submission of papers for the Somaliland Convention, which will be held in Los Angeles on the 24th - 26th of June 2005. Writers are advised to submit a synopsis of one page to one of the email addresses below to be considered for an opportunity to be presented at the Convention. The papers should be based on the following session topics:

- Somaliland Politics and governance
- Economic development and Natural Resources
- Community & Social Development: Education, Health & Civil Society
- Somaliland in the Diaspora: Problems & Prospects

SOPRI, and the Somaliland community in California, anticipate the participation of, and speeches from, representatives of Somaliland's three main political parties and government as well as academicians, businessmen, experts in foreign policy, and other disciplines at the two-day convention.

We encourage submissions from those interested in attending the convention. Writers of selected papers will have an opportunity to address this distinguished audience.

Views expressed in the papers will be those of their writers and will not represent those of SOPRI and other sponsors of the Convention.

Dr. Amina Adan,
Said M. Samater,
Adan H Iman,

Source:, 30 Mar 2005

Radio Horyaal And The New Debate On Airwaves

Radio Facilities - International - 30 March, 2005

Radio Horyaal is the latest talk of the town. It's the newly opened radio station in the country, Somalilanders' first taste of independent radio broadcasting. For more than a decade, Radio Hargeisa ruled the airwaves of this oral society. It is the only radio station and is fully controlled by the government. In Somaliland, the people's thirst for information is quenched by listening to radio, day in and day out.

BBC Somali is aired by Radio Hargeisa. At 5:30pm when BBC broadcast starts, the city seems to stop, in teashops men intently listen to the latest news, their heads are turned to one direction (speakers). By the time the program ends at six pm, heated discussions begin.

"If you only understand the debates about the news, it seemed like they listened to 10 different stations. Everyone has something to say, the debate is always intense" Mohamed said, a Somalilander from Canada who decided to stay in the country.

The recent arrest or 2 radio reporters suspected of being KULMIYE (opposition party) supporters working for Radio Horyaal stunned the public. Their ecstatic welcome to the new broadcast station was momentarily put on hold. Questions are raised and remained unanswered. "The government promised long before that there will be another radio station, it has been more than 10 years! I agree with what people said, the government should close down radio stations in the eastern part of the country that are not supportive of Somaliland. Radio Horyaal is for Somaliland! " Abdirahman, a KULMIYE supporter said.

Some people however are warry about the new radio facility, "They should've gone through the proper channels and applied to the Ministry of Information and National Guidance for license. The cabinet will approve it and then the parliament. It is only then that they will become legal. They have the right to do that, why didn't they establish the facility here inside the country instead? I am sure that they are not in UK but in Mogadishu!" Abdi an academician said.

Whatever the reasons both of the government (in firing and arresting the reporters) and the owners of Radio Horyaal are, one thing is for sure, this will be another hot topic of debate among the radio listening population., February 27, 2005

Editorial: How much longer can Somaliland survive on armchair politics and empty stomach?

Given the background of the Dark Continent's internecine wars, unending military coups and dictatorial rulers as well as the lawlessness and gun culture reigning in Southern Somalia, Somaliland remained as the darling of African studies academicians, political observers and the donor fatigue world community over the past 14 years.

With its homegrown peace and stability, its sure-footed strides in building democratic institutions and strengthening the rule of law, its thriving press freedom and its fledgling civil societies, Somaliland was viewed and described as "Africa's Best Kept Secret." The Somaliland people, known for their entrepreneurial skills, have devoted their energy and time in rehabilitating their lives, re-healing the wounds caused by years of brutal dictatorship and civil strife, rebuilding their homes and reasserting their national identity and national pride as a sovereign state. They proved skeptics wrong by successfully holding two elections, a municipality and presidential elections, and preparing for the parliamentary one in March 2005, the last cycle of the country's democratic process.

Alongside the democratization and peace building efforts also went social development projects such as rehabilitating schools, hospitals and civil society organizations. Today, Somaliland boasts of having several universities, few colleges and a number of vocational schools.

Making all these accomplishments with little help from the international community and with its sisterly Somalia sinking deeper into a state of chaos and unabated bloodshed has made the world take notice of Somaliland's wisdom and resilience in coasting all these years through grinding economic situation and frustrating political limbo.

Today when the fruits of their long labor were due to be reaped, Somalilanders have found themselves between a rock and a hard place. On the one side Somalilanders have every right to be proud of their accomplishments. Hargeisa can match any other African capital with its luxurious hotels, gorgeous villas and bungalows and state-of-the art architecture. On the other side, however, Hargeisa and all other Somaliland towns for that matter have no town planning, no roads, no services, no sewage system, no water supply, no reliable electricity, no health services and no source of income with 90% or more of the community relying on assistance from relatives in the diaspora and the whole able-bodied population unemployed with no hope of economic or political salvation in sight.

This situation has encouraged regional political burglars and highwaymen to act not only on Somaliland's behalf but also to sneak under the darkness and steal its territory, its economic potential and its fundamental existence as a sovereign state.

The first blow came from Djibouti, which has signed an agreement with Saudi Arabia to be the gateway for the exports of livestock coming from Somaliland. It also handed over its customs and ports to the Emirate of Dubai to develop and manage them in an attempt to acquire ultra-modern equipment and implement advanced IT infrastructure solutions, thus eclipsing Berbera's role as a potential rival the same way that Djibouti had eclipsed the flourishing port of Zeila in the early 20th century.

The second blow came from Puntland whose Machiavellian warlord had first played the tribal card to dismember Somaliland and throw its territorial integrity into a perpetual doubt. With Abdillahi Yusuf Ahmed now buoyant with his newfound power and international recognition as the leader of Somalia, there is no doubt that he will make his priority to stymie Somaliland's ambition for nationhood. The establishment of the Horn of African Free Zone (HAFZA) in Puntland is a step to tighten the noose on Somaliland's dying economy and force it to fall into Ahmed's lap like a ripen fruit.

All this wheeling and dealing is taking place while Somalilanders are engaged in a mudslinging and cutthroat political squabble on the leadership of a hungry nation. It is no wonder that many of the Somaliland people who in the very recent past couldn't stomach to hear the name Somalia or Mogadishu have to follow with unprecedented enthusiasm the developments of the Somali government formed in Nairobi.

After living almost a decade and a half in the political twilight, Somalilanders are not only demoralized and beaten by the travails of finding their daily bread, but some of them have started to question about the viability of issues that they felt were so sacrosanct to even think about questioning them. If the conversation of Somalilanders in the coffee shops and their rush to meeting delegations of the newly formed Somali government could be taken as any measure, one can notice a change of tone and a softening of the position of the most die-hard Somalilanders towards any reference of association of their country with Somalia.

It may be appropriate to remind Somalilanders here that yes they have established peace and stability, yes they have turned Somaliland into an exemplary state in terms of building democratic institutions, holding multi-party democratic elections, enjoying free press and civil societies and trashing each other in the local and online media, but they have utterly failed in rising above the trivial political and tribal squabbles and thinking GRAND to bring about an economic change in their country. They failed to establish shareholding companies and attracting international business to their homeland. They have all become armchair politicians and excelled in outsmarting each other in shouting debates. They opted for resting on their laurels and got intoxicated with such labels as "Africa's Best Kept Secret" but they forgot that a hungry person could hardly keep any secret if he/she can sell it for bread. They have to know that the test is now. Either they have to trust each other, add penny to penny and create employment-generating businesses or they should know that people cannot live on empty stomachs and empty rhetoric for long and so they may not find any alternative but to try another 30 years of hell with bread than heaven without.

Source: 26 Marc 2005

Enforce The Ban On The Bag

By: Guled Ismail, USA

Somaliland has gone through and still going through a very difficult period with our enemies, perhaps now joined by Ethiopia making strategic moves to encircle and suffocate us and our home-grown traditional quarrelling and squabbling reaching its own inevitable and perhaps destructive crescendo. So it is encouraging, indeed heart-warming to see something positive come out of the place no matter how insignificant.

The ban on the ubiquitous plastic bag is long overdue as the spread of the obnoxious little packaging item should have been stopped long time ago. For starters it is ugly, an "eyesore" as the Somaliland govt spokesman correctly described it. It is also partially responsible for the demise of the age-old weaving industry in which Somaliland women (it was exclusively women) used to produce a dizzying array of stunningly beautiful containers made from natural fibres. There were bags and baskets of all sizes, textures and colours, some of them like the `han' and the `hedo' veritable pieces of living functional sculptures. The former was used for goat and sheep milk while the latter was used to store Muqmad, a biltong-like sweet and salty boneless lamb cutlets beloved of Somalilanders.

And then there were plainer items like `sellad' used by every mother in Somaliland each morning to go to the market to buy the days' groceries for the family and the `dambil' used to store household goods.

The materials used were simple and locally available and the containers not only reusable and cheap but decorative durable too.

More importantly the weaving industry employed hundreds, if not thousands of skilled women who made a living from selling these local products. And then came the nasty little bag and the weavers simply could not compete with its one time use simplicity. The main culprit was the Qat trade, another evil newcomer to Somaliland which will surely destroy the nation if not confronted and controlled at some point. But the Qat story is for another day. Today we are celebrating a great victory against an insidious by-product of the affluent and lazy society.

This is an opportunity for the plethora of Somaliland women's groups and NGOs to make a concerted effort to revive the weaving industry. Adverts should be published on all newspapers and carried on the radio (sadly there is only one radio) inviting skilled women to come forward for training and seed money. Collectives should be re-established and new members trained. If need be weavers from Ethiopia and India who use similar techniques should be employed as trainers. All this will cost less than Somalilanders spend on the evil drug of Khat in a day. As for `Qat wrappers which was the main function of the horrible plastic bag; I have an alternative and dare I say far more attractive idea. Why not have two personalised cloth wrappers for each customer, that way one could be left with the Qat seller and one taken with the poison leaves in it for chewing? The more discerning or snobbish Qat chewer can have silk wrappers with their names printed in goldleaf if they so wish while the rifraff can stick with their cotton wrappers. Again this will create employment for tailors in the country.

But let us not get carried away yet. The government has to enforce the ban first and unfortunately the precedence on this is far from encouraging. FGM has been illegal for almost ten years now but it continues apace right under the noses of law enforcement authorities. So if the government does not have the courage, conviction or the competence to prevent the barbaric mutilation of our children how can we trust it to face down the menace of the plastic bag? We will wait and see. But it is a step in the direction. Well done Somaliland government now enforce the ban.

Africa ; Somaliland faces flak for scribes detention:

[Africa News] NAIROBI - Global Press freedom watchdog Reporters Without Borders (RSF) yesterday condemned the firing and detention this week of two Somali radio reporters in the self-declared republic of Somaliland.

RSF said authorities in the northern breakaway enclave of Somalia had abused their authority by firing the pair for reporting for a new London-based radio network while also working for a state-owned station in the nominal Somaliland capital of Hargeisa and detaining them on suspicion of espionage.

"The two Radio Hargeisa employees must be cleared of all suspicion and unconditionally reinstated in their posts," the Paris-based group said in a statement received here.

"Their present situation, in which they are threatened with being thrown in prison if they go back to working as journalists, is intolerable," it said.

Authorities in Somaliland could not immediately be reached for comment but RSF, citing local journalist groups, said presenter Hodo Ahmed Qarboshe and reporter Ahmed Suleyman Dhuhul were fired on Tuesday by deputy information minister Ali Elmi Geele.

Geele reportedly said the pair had committed an "act of misconduct" by working both for Radio Hargeisa and for London-based Radio Horyaal, which recently began broadcasting to the Horn of Africa, it said.

The Somali Journalist Network, a local press freedom organization, said Dhuhul and Qarboshe had then been detained for questioning on espionage charges before being released on Wednesday.

Somaliland's government, which is not internationally recognized, has accused Radio Horyaal of belonging to the enclave's leading opposition party.

The network has denied the charge although many in Somaliland believe there are links between the station and the opposition. (Agencies)

Two Somaliland Journalists Fired, Arrested For Working For London-based Station

Somaliland.Org - Reporters Without Borders - 24 March, 2005

Reporters Without Borders today accused the breakaway state of Somaliland's government of abusing its authority by ordering the dismissal and arrest of two part-time employees of state-owned Radio Hargeisa on the grounds that they also worked for a new privately-owned radio station broadcasting from London.

"The two Radio Hargeisa employees must be cleared of all suspicion and unconditionally reinstated in their posts," the press freedom organizations said, stressing that, "their present situation, in which they are threatened with being thrown in prison if they go back to working as journalists, is intolerable."

Reporters Without Borders added : "The situation of press freedom in Hargeisa may not be as catastrophic as in Mogadishu, but the authorities are extremely sensitive about criticism. In the case of these two journalists, it is clear that they wanted to make an example and put Somaliland's journalists on their guard, while trying to stifle a radio station they dislike by depriving it of local correspondents."

Radio Hargeisa presenter Hodo Ahmed Qarboshe and reporter Ahmed Suleyman Dhuhul were fired on the orders of deputy information minister Ali Elmi Geele on 22 March. The breakaway state's government said it was an act of misconduct for the two part-time employees to also work for Radio Horyaal, a new London-based station that broadcasts to the Horn of Africa.

The Somali Journalist Network (SOJON), a local press freedom organization, said several agents detained Dhuhul at midday on 22 March on the orders of interior minister Ismaaciil Aadan Cismaanla and took him to the headquarters of Criminal investigation department. Qarboshe was arrested the next morning.

They were interrogated about their links with Radio Horyaal and its management, and were accused of "spying." They were finally released yesterday afternoon after the president of the Somaliland Journalists' Association (SOLJA) paid bail for them.

The Somaliland government (which is dominated by the Udub party) claims that Radio Horyaal belongs to the leading opposition party, KULMIYE. The station denies this, although local sources quoted by SOJON maintain that KULMIYE does indeed have links with the station.

Located in northern Somalia, Somaliland unilaterally declared its independence in May 1991 but has never been officially recognised by the international community. The government, located in the city of Hargeisa, has never allowed privately-owned radio stations.


Reporters Without Borders defends imprisoned journalists and press freedom throughout the world, as well as the right to inform the public and to be informed, in accordance with Article 19 of the Universal Declaration of Human Rights. Reporters Without borders has nine national sections (in Austria, Belgium, France, Germany, Italy, Spain, Sweden, Switzerland, and the United Kingdom), representatives in Abidjan, Bangkok, Buenos Aires, Istanbul, Montreal, Moscow, New York, Tokyo and Washington and more than a hundred correspondents worldwide.

Source: RSF.Org Somalia: Somaliland Still Blighted By Plastic Bags, Despite Ban UN Integrated Regional Information Networks/March 24, 2005

Hargeysa -- Three weeks after the self-declared republic of Somaliland banned plastic bags, the landscape of its capital city, Hargeysa, continues to be dominated by the brightly coloured bags.

Somaliland officials have insisted the 1 March ban has taken effect, but ordinary Somalilanders say the use of the bags, known locally as "Hargeysa flowers" because they are often found on trees, has continued unabated not only in the capital, but in towns such as Berbera, Borama and Burao as well.

"If the government wants us to stop using the bags, then it should provide us with a good and lasting alternative[s] for free," Asha Mohamed, a trader selling used clothes in the main market, told IRIN on Wednesday.

Information Minister Abdillahi Duale told IRIN in March that people should be using reusable, environmentally friendly baskets and containers, such as sacks made of straws, reeds and sisal. "These are the kind of containers that our people traditionally used," he said.

However, Mohamed said that "the majority of us cannot afford baskets and containers, [and] we find the plastic bags friendly and easily foldable."

At the grocery section of the market, hundreds of women were carrying the bags. "[They] can carry a considerable weight of goods without tearing like paper bags," Faisa Mohamed, a mother of two, explained.

Somaliland's government gave the public 120 days' grace at the end of 2004 to dispose of their stocks, but despite this, the bags still litter the streets.

When Duale announced the ban at the beginning of March, he told IRIN: "The bags have not only become an environmental problem, but also an eyesore."

He explained that they were harmful to livestock, as animals that fed on shrubs often ingested the bags accidentally.

The khat trade's role

Many of the plastic bags clogging Somaliland's drains have been used by khat traders. Bundles of khat, a plant stimulant chewed by many Somalis, are usually sold wrapped in the bags.

Ibrahim Omar, a khat seller, told IRIN in Hargeysa on Tuesday that the stimulant was sold in plastic bags to "keep the khat under optimum temperature", since the plant was highly perishable. Given the dry, hot temperatures in Somaliland, he added, it would lose moisture quickly if left exposed.

"The plastic bag acts like a fridge for the buyers," Omar explained. "Without putting khat inside the plastic bag the plant would get destroyed within minutes, hence the buyer would not get the stimulation he was seeking."

After Nuur Omar Sheikh Muse, the minister of trade and industries, issued March's decree, entitled: "Banning importation, production and use of plastic bags in the country", Duale said it would be followed by an awareness campaign to inform the public about the dangers of the bags.

However, local environmental activists have said the government has not yet embarked on the promised campaign to discourage people from using them.

Mohamed Ali Mataan, one of the activists, told IRIN he was worried that ink used to brand the plastic bags could also eventually contaminate the water system.

Nonetheless, Duale has promised: "We are determined as a government to enforce this ban, no matter what," adding that all the country's harbours, airports and other border points have been instructed to enforce the ban.

Yet sources in Hargeysa told IRIN that not only were bags still being imported, but a local plastics factory in the town was also continuing to manufacture them.

Asked about the factory, Trade Minister Sheikh Muse told IRIN on Wednesday that "the government has ordered the factory to continue to manufacture a certain amount of bags for a certain period until the majority obtain an environmental-friendly substitute - and we will definitely [be] going to regulate its production."

He made these comments despite describing the situation as "a disaster in the making, and had we hesitated, the long-term and negative effects could have endangered the lives of both human beings and livestock."

Importers who defied the ban, he promised, would face severe penalties.

Plastic-bag importers in Hargeysa, who wished to remain anonymous, told IRIN they were opposed to the ban because it was "harsh and ill-timed", and they believed it would lead to loss of revenue for the government.

Urging that the ban be lifted until a cheaper, reliable alternative was found, one of the importers claimed that the ban was a ploy to allow the local factory to gain a monopoly in bag production.

Kenyan research

In a report released during the 21-25 February meeting of the Governing Council of the UN Environment Programme in Kenya's capital, Nairobi, researchers in neighbouring Kenya recommended that thin plastic bags, used widely across the country for carrying shopping, be banned because they polluted the environment and were a potential health hazard.

They said the bags - which were so flimsy they could only be used once - littered both rural and urban environments, blocked gutters and drains, choked farm animals and marine wildlife, and polluted the soil as they gradually broke down.

Prof Wangari Maathai, the 2004 Nobel Peace Prize winner and the Kenyan assistant minister for environment, has linked plastic-bag litter with malaria. She has said that discarded bags that have filled with rainwater offer ideal breeding grounds for malaria-carrying mosquitoes.

BBC - Hargeisa, Somaliland - 23 March, 2005

Somaliland's Murder Trial Starts

Ten men have gone on trial in the breakaway republic of Somaliland, accused of murdering foreign aid workers in a series of attacks.

Police were deployed around the court and journalists were refused entry.

The Somaliland authorities say those behind the killings are terrorists intent on destabilising the country.

The four victims - two Britons, one Italian and one Kenyan - were killed in separate attacks over a six-month period from October 2003.

The two Britons, Richard Eyeington, 62, and his wife Enid, 61, were shot through the window of their flat at a secondary school in Sheikh, 140km (87 miles) north-east of Hargeisa, the region's capital.

Their deaths followed the murder of an award-winning Italian aid worker, Annalena Tonelli, 60, in another part of Somaliland.

The former British colony of Somaliland declared independence from the rest of Somalia in 1991, when former leader Siad Barre was overthrown and the country descended into anarchy.

Somaliland's independence has not been internationally recognised.

Two Somali reporters detained for UK broadcast

HARGEISA, Somalia (Reuters, March 25, 2005) - Two journalists in the breakaway enclave of Somaliland were sacked and detained after being caught working for a London-based private radio station, a government official said on Friday.

Deputy information minister Ali Elmi Gheleh said he ordered the dismissal of Hodo Ahmed Qarboshe and Ahmed Suleyman Dhuhul from their jobs at state-owned Radio Hargeisa after they were discovered working for the station.

"We became aware of its existence when we heard its transmission, but as they are Radio Hargeisa workers I sacked them, but I am not responsible for their arrest," he told Reuters.

Dhuhul was detained on Wednesday and Qarboshe on Thursday. It was unclear who ordered their arrest.

Local press freedom group, the Somali Journalist Network, said both were accused of spying before being released.

Global media watchdog Reporters Without Borders condemned the action, saying the Somaliland government which has outlawed private radio stations had "abused its authority".

London-based Radio Horyaal is believed by the Somaliland government to belong to the leading opposition party, Kulmiye, Reporters Without Borders said.

"The two Radio Hargeisa employees must be cleared of all suspicion and unconditionally reinstated in their posts," the group said in a statement.

"Their present situation, in which they are threatened with being thrown in prison if they go back to working as journalists, is intolerable."

Somaliland on the Gulf of Aden declared independence from anarchic Somalia in 1991, but is not recognised internationally.

Source: March

Paper slams Somaliland government over terror trial, arrest of two journalists

Text of editorial entitled "Somaliland's missing international dimension" published in English by Somali newspaper The Somaliland Times web site on 25 March:

Two recent events point to systemic problems in the decision-making of Somaliland's government. The first one is the detention and dismissal of two journalists for working without permits for overseas-based Radio Horyaal while at the same time being employees of the government-owned Radio Hargeysa. Even if one grants the government the right to fire the two reporters, one is baffled by why it chose to detain them. If the government's aim was to scare the two reporters and discourage Somaliland citizens from listening to the new radio station, the government's action resulted in just the opposite and gave Radio Horyaal some free publicity, while at the same time it damaged its own and the country's reputation.

One would have hoped that since many of the people in this government have been in office for some time, they would have learned by now that such heavy-handed tactics backfire. This incident is just another case of the government making decisions solely based on internal political calculations.. Since the government is responsible for Somaliland, it is only right that they should pay attention to internal matters, but it is also important that they be aware of the international ramifications of their decisions.

Which brings us to the second event, the trial of the ten alleged terrorists. Somaliland's government could have made more vigorous efforts to publicize the trial proceedings and drawn the attention of the international community. Since the victims were foreigners, it is only logical that their countries of origin, and the press in particular, would be interested in the trials and their outcome, and the occasion would have served as an opportunity to focus foreign media and international attention on Somaliland.

In a recent interview, Somaliland President Dahir Riyale Kahin said with evident pride: "Somaliland is the only country in east Africa that has managed to capture 10 terrorists." President Kahin and Somaliland's security services have every right to take pride in such a feat. But they must let the world know about it, and not treat it as a local event.

Source: The Somaliland Times web site, Hargeysa, in English 25 Mar 05

Two Journalists Fired, Arrested for Working for London-Based Radio Station

Reporters sans FrontiSres (Paris). PRESS RELEASE, March 24, 2005

RSF has accused the breakaway state of Somaliland's government of abusing its authority by ordering the dismissal and arrest of two part-time employees of the state-owned Radio Hargeisa station, on the grounds that they also worked for a new privately-owned radio station broadcasting from London.

"The two Radio Hargeisa employees must be cleared of all suspicion and unconditionally reinstated in their posts. Their present situation, in which they are threatened with imprisonment if they go back to working as journalists, is intolerable," RSF said.

"The situation of press freedom in Hargeisa may not be as catastrophic as in Mogadishu, but the authorities are extremely sensitive about criticism. In the case of these two journalists, it is clear that they wanted to make an example and put Somaliland's journalists on their guard, while trying to stifle a radio station they dislike by depriving it of local correspondents," the organisation added.

On 22 March 2005, Radio Hargeisa presenter Hodo Ahmed Qarboshe and reporter Ahmed Suleyman Dhuhul were fired on the orders of Deputy Information Minister Ali Elmi Geele. The breakaway state's government said it was an act of misconduct for the two part-time employees to also work for Radio Horyaal, a new London-based station that broadcasts to the Horn of Africa.

The Somali Journalist Network (SOJON), a local press freedom organisation, said several agents detained Dhuhul at midday on 22 March on the orders of Interior Minister Ismaaciil Aadan Cismaanla and took him to the headquarters of the criminal investigation department. Qarboshe was arrested the following morning.

The journalists were interrogated about their links with Radio Horyaal and its management, and were accused of "spying". They were finally released on the afternoon of 23 March, after the Somaliland Journalists' Association's (SOLJA) president posted bail for them.

Somaliland's government, which is dominated by the Udub party, claims that Radio Horyaal belongs to the leading opposition party, Kulmiye. The station denies this, although local sources quoted by SOJON maintain that Kulmiye does indeed have links with the station.

Located in northern Somalia, Somaliland unilaterally declared its independence in May 1991 but has never been officially recognised by the international community. The government, located in the city of Hargeisa, has never allowed privately-owned radio stations to operate. 22 2005

Somaliland: Peacekeepers Will Not Deploy in Somaliland

A controversial 10 000-strong regional peacekeeping force planned for Somalia will deploy across the country except in the breakaway region of Somaliland, a senior Ugandan military officer has said. "The force will deploy throughout Somalia, from Puntland all the way to the south, but not in Somaliland," the officer said after meetings of east African military experts at which the eight-battalion deployment was worked out.

Somalia has been without any functioning central authority for the past 14 years but the region of Somaliland has established its own governmental structures and claims independence from the rest of the war-shattered nation.

The officer said the first phase of the proposed deployment, which has been recommended to begin on April 30, would see three-and-half battalions of troops sent to lawless Somalia to assist the country's transitional government relocate there from exile in Kenya.

The first peacekeepers to go would include a battalion each from Uganda, Sudan and Ethiopia and a half battalion from Djibouti, he said on condition of anonymity.

He stressed that the proposal, presented by defence chiefs from the seven-nation Inter-Governmental Authority on Development on Monday, still had to be approved by IGAD foreign ministers.

The officer added that the proposal did not take into account strong opposition from some Somali warlords and Islamic clerics to the participation in the force of troops from Ethiopia and Djibouti.

Those two countries, as well as Kenya, are seen by opponents as having ulterior motives in Somalia.

"The foreign ministers will handle those policy matters," the officer said. "We wrote down the concept and it is them to decide the implementation policy."

However, on Monday, Ugandan President Yoweri Museveni, the current chair of IGAD, said the force, to be known as the IGAD Peace Support Mission for Somalia, would deploy with or without the support of the warlords.

"We are going to deploy with or without the support of the warlords," Museveni told defence ministers from IGAD, which comprises Djibouti, Eritrea, Ethiopia, Kenya, Sudan, Uganda and nominally Somalia.

Source: 24 March, 2005

Somaliland Predicament From Which There Is No Obvious Escape

Abdulkadir M.Dualeh MSW - Ottawa, Canada

The late president's untimely death and unexpected departure from the political scene created a political vacuum in Somaliland politics. Thus far, the people of Somaliland have shown the world their maturity in many ways, including the manner in which they mutually and resolutely decided to carry out the presidential election and subsequently resolved the then disputed presidential election. What really became a tense situation and many people is asking now is how on earth did we arrived at the current political and constitutional crises? And how it reached the alarming stage before anyone uttered a word about it? It is therefore, necessary that the three political parties have to recognize their current role, the mammoth task and huge responsibilities they assumed, rather than indicating a position of ineffectiveness, ineptness, and indifferent. The current disengagement and inability to take on the system, shape political discourse, and claim their historic place in shaping the future destiny of Somaliland by duly exercising their rights to safeguard the country's national security, economic interests, and territorial integrity from undesirable political ramifications which, in the final analysis, weaken our ability to defend it, is simply unacceptable. The fallout could be disastrous one, and will lead to a brake down of rule of law and unquestionably will destroy the emerging democratic institutions and self-governance. Therefore, if they choose to be in the sidelines and continue their current reticence, in due course, they will be faced with the ultimate wrath of Somaliland electorate.

The current unpredictability in the political discourse in Somaliland is quite disturbing, and similar to the post SNM era of sluggishness, bad governance and resurrected old nemesis, and demons with such destructive forces coupled with skillful political maneuvering of Machiavellian tendencies. Yet, those hold positions of power whether elected, appointed or bestowed by their clans. i.e. the executive branch, legislators of both houses, election commission members and, justices of the high court is in breach of their contract with the people and the solemn oath they took to defend its territorial integrity, and uphold the reputation and the honor of their respective offices.

The opposition parties are not out of the loop either, because they were mute from the beginning and never forced the hand of the government and the parliament to take action and make it achievable in holding elections on schedule. When discussing the issue of the upcoming parliamentary elections, the parties were mute, missing in action (MIAs), and reluctant to fully engage the political discourse, rather than coming up with pragmatic solutions to offer a modus operandi that is fair and equitable to all concerned, and propose new alternatives to break the gridlock, but instead of being resolute in their quest for moving the country ahead, were marginalized and eventually they opted to played save, hoping for a divine intervention to resolve the impasse, and that led to a situation were it get worsen day by day and get out of hands.

What is more alarming is the emergence in recent months a small clique of turncoat saboteurs who are committed to destabilize and undermine the sovereignty of the country, and eager to lead the people into irreversible treacherous course; it is up to Somaliland people to bring them to account to resolve this deadlock. Lets be serious, what is at stake here is not who occupies what office or which group is more shrewd then the other, but rather our entire existence, and at this juncture it is incumbent upon every Somaliland citizen to defend the hard fought freedom by any means necessary, and save the country from complete self destruction.

Those engaging treacherous politics of divide and rule forfeited much of the credibility they earned from the Somaliland electorates, thus will put at risk the gradual democratization progresses made by the populace in establishing viable and promising public institutions and recently legalized multiparty system of governance... Such small incremental steps taken in the right direction for a decade and half to transition from clan-based government to an all inclusive government; based on power sharing and multiparty democratic system that espouses the principle of one man one vote and people's desire to pursue the dream of joining the international community could be particularly stalled, thus adversely affecting the path to international recognition. The risk of dissension and discord among the people of Somaliland at this crucial time is a threat to all of us, in particular to our national political stability, economic liberalization, political maturity and growth. If however, the state of affairs we are in is not resolved swiftly, amicably and prudently, the likely hood of the government embarking on an aggressive agenda of seeking early recognition from the international community will be delayed.

Justice system should promote the principle of due process, and it is violations must be addressed, such as torture, arbitrary arrests, detention, and lack of adequate legal representation. To be effective, justice system must be independent, impartial, and strive for objectivity and neutrality when deciding matters of national interests. It must recognize rights of individuals and uphold the constitution of the country by not abridging their freedom of speech, or of the press; or the right of the people peaceably to assemble; due process should be free of intimidation and the right to appeal the government for a redress of grievances. The government must assure everyone to take part in the governance of the country directly or through chosen representatives accountable to the people.

This cycle of perpetual accusation and counter accusation of pathetic name calling and using the people's struggle as a lunching pad to attack each other is un called for, its a low point in this administration's term in office and rather uncivilized. If this does not stop without delay, it will give solace to our archenemy and those who rather see Somaliland disintegrate.

Let's not fall short, and not allow our differences get into the way, we need to come together as a nation of one people, in this momentous juncture we need to be united, and work for the common good and the betterment of our people. Otherwise, the consequences will be costly both in terms of human lives, political opportunities lost and property destroyed. The chaos that will ensue from such irresponsible actions is detrimental to the unity and existence of Somaliland. Lets not fail those who paid the ultimate sacrifice, and the hundreds of thousands of men, women and children who paid with their precious lives and many others who made their political capital, money and wealth readily available the struggle in order to reclaim our, honor, dignity, liberty and independences.

Somaliland sovereignty and independence is supreme, and those who paid with their blood in our struggle should not have died in vein.

Help us quench the thirst for home, say Somaliland refugees

HARGEISA, North-west Somalia, March 22 (UNHCR) - It's so excruciatingly hot in summer in the Zeila district on the Gulf of Aden that, as one old-timer says, "when a bird flies from one tree to another, he will die before reaching the next tree."

There's even a 180-km stretch known as The Plain of Death ("Gegriyaad" in Somali) because of the number of drivers who perish of thirst there every year when their trucks or cars break down on the way to Djibouti.

So after Zeila's only sources of water - five boreholes - were destroyed during the civil war, there was no way Somali refugees would return to the region, where the mercury climbs to over 50 degrees Celsius between June and September.

The local nomadic people "spend most of their time fetching water; it's their main task," says Abdirashid Deria Farah, a water engineer with UNHCR in Hargeisa, the capital of the self-declared independent (but unrecognized) state of Somaliland, known also as North-west Somalia.

But now refugees are finally returning to Zeila because in recent years, UNHCR has re-drilled and re-equipped four boreholes in the region, in cooperation with UN and non-governmental organisation partners.

Even with the four boreholes, nomadic herders spend three or four days travelling in each direction to fetch water for their families and their animals, transporting the water to their homes on donkey- and camel-back.

In areas where it is technically feasible, UNHCR has also dug shallow wells for villages and farmers. "It's an extraordinarily harsh environment," says Abdirashid. "We are doing what we can to make it more liveable."

Somaliland is populated almost entirely by people who once had to flee their homes during conflict, many crossing international borders to become refugees. After 1991, when the regime of Siad Barre collapsed and Somaliland declared its independence, Somalilanders began coming home on their own. Since 1997, UNHCR has been helping refugees return from camps in Djibouti and Ethiopia, as well as further afield.

An estimated 700,000 refugees have returned to Somaliland, a place where nearly half the population lives on less than US$1 a day. Returnees are in an even worse situation; one year after their return, 90 percent do not have a regular source of income.

While Somaliland welcomes the return of refugees - who, in many cases, are helping rebuild the region - it has no money to provide necessary services to assure that their return is permanent.

"Somaliland is caught in a bind," says Simone Wolken, UNHCR's Representative in Somalia. "Because it is not recognized by any country in the world, it does not get any bilateral aid. The only money available for reconstruction and development has to come from the UN and NGOs."

Between 1993 and November 2004, UNHCR carried out 677 projects - ranging from building latrines so girls could attend school to teaching men and women how to keep bees and sell honey to support themselves - that benefit an estimated two to three million people in Somaliland. The projects represent an investment of more than $23 million by UNHCR.

"These community-based reintegration programs, including 58 in Somaliland in 2004 alone, have helped to improve the access of vulnerable populations to the basic services of water, health, education and sanitation and to improve their livelihoods through local economic development," said Wolken.

"While the number of project may appear high, they only met a small fraction of the needs," she added. The UN and NGOs working in Somalia have appealed for $164 million for this year's projects, of which $6.6 million would go to UNHCR; in recent years, the requests have not been fully funded, which limits the ability of the UN adequately to help Somalis.

In an area where peace is still fragile, "we have to strengthen it through development," Wolken adds, "and make sure that these people never have to become refugees again."

In Aisha refugee camp in eastern Ethiopia, one of the last camps in what was once the world's largest refugee-hosting area, the last Somalilanders are going home.

What they value above all else is the peace that now reigns at home, but they are worried about the harsh life they will face.

Roble Hadi Kahin, the 50-year-old chairman of the refugee committee, and father of eight children, is worried that his younger ones will not be able to continue their education once they go back home in a few weeks.

So he has a challenge for world leaders: "The area I am returning to is an area without water, without health facilities, without education, but we are ready to return. Has the world any idea of helping us?" By Kitty McKinsey, In Somaliland and Aisha camp


Journalist Arrested In Somaliland

In the capital city of Somaliland, Hargeysa, a Journalist, Mr Ahmed Suleiman Dhuhul, who was working for the government owned Radio Hargeisa was today fired from his job then arrested. Another Journalist, Ms Hoda Ahmed Qarboshe, was also sacked from her government job at Radio Hargeisa. A letter sent by Somaliland's deputy Minister of Information, Ali Elmi Ghele, to Mr Dhuhul stated " I am informing you herewith that starting from today 22.03.0 your employment with the Somaliland Ministry of Information is terminated. The reason is that you have started working for a clandestine Radio Station". Few hours after the letter from the Minister arrived on Mr Dhuhul's desk, he was arrested by Somaliland's Police and taken to local police station, where he is being kept until now.

On Monday 21st March 05, the first independent Radio station, Radio Horyaal, was launched in Somaliland. Unlike the government owned Radio Hargeysa, which can only be heard in the capital city, Hargeisa and its surroundings, Radio Horyaal can be heard in the whole of Somaliland, Somalia, Horn of Africa and the Gulf states.

Mr Ahmed H Nur, spokesperson for Radio Horyaal, reacting to the news of the arrest of the journalist stated: " Radio Horyaal uses an officially registered frequency and a company that is fully licensed to operate under the International Telecommunications Union. It operates in Europe and has a right to broadcast from there and conforms to international standards of broadcasting" He added that since the station does not operate on Somaliland soil, it did not need a licence from Somaliland authorities. "They were not working for a clandestine organization, but a legal organization broadcasting under international regulations", concluded Mr Nur.

In Somaliland, the government has banned independent Radio and the only Radio station operating in the whole of the country is the government owned Radio Hargeysa.

Human rights organisations and Media organisations have condemned the imprisonment of Mr Dhuhul. SOLJA,an umbrella organization that represents Somaliland Journalists called the arrest and imprisonment of Mr Dhuhul illegal and requested his immediate release.

Somaliland: Stability amid economic woe

BBC, 22 March 2005--As UK Prime Minister Tony Blair's Commission for Africa published its report on stimulating development in March 2005, the BBC's Rob Walker visited Somaliland - part of Somalia until it declared independence in 1991- to see how it is faring.

Ahmed Hassan is sitting behind a large stack of Somaliland shillings on one of the dusty streets of the market place in the capital Hargeisa.

He and other money changers are doing a brisk trade, converting between shillings, dollars and euros.

"We watch TV every morning to check the strength of the dollar," he says, as a wheelbarrow arrives, piled high with Somaliland shillings.

Somaliland has its own currency, along with its own national anthem and flag. It even issues its own passports.

But Somaliland is a country in limbo, a state in waiting which no other country recognises.

'Unhappy marriage'

Former British Somaliland became independent in 1960 and joined Italian Somalia to the south a few days later to form the Somali Republic.

But it was an unhappy marriage and in the 1980s, a rebel movement formed in the north to fight against the increasingly oppressive rule of Siad Barre.

After Barre's fall in 1991, clan elders in the former British protectorate met and agreed to unilaterally declare independence from the rest of Somalia.

Traditional clan-based negotiations have brought a remarkable degree of stability - a sharp contrast to the continuing violence in some other parts of Somalia.

Peace has allowed refugees to return and businesses to re-establish. In Hargeisa's market, Ahmed Hassan and other money-changers keep only a casual eye on the mounds of Somaliland currency.

"You see a lot of money here, but do you see any police, any guns? We have peace here," he said.

Fragile economy

Elsewhere in the capital, multi-storey buildings are springing up and newly-opened car dealerships compete to give the best prices for imported second-hand jeeps and pick-ups.

"We Somalilanders have built this country from the ruins, no-one has helped us," Somaliland's President, Dahir Riyale Kahin, told the BBC.

But the economy is still extremely fragile and poverty among Somaliland's population of 3.5 million is high.

Outside Hargeisa, at one of the many water points that dot the arid plain along the border with Ethiopia, Abdi Abdullahi waters his cattle.

"We are getting poorer, every year there is less grass for our livestock, and they produce less milk," he said.

Budgetary woes

More than half of Somaliland's population are nomadic pastoralists. The livestock sector, though, traditionally the backbone of the economy, can no longer support the growing population.

Increasing numbers of destitute herders have arrived on the edge of cities like Hargeisa, swelling the numbers of urban unemployed which the government acknowledges are now worryingly high.

A ban on importing livestock by Saudi Arabia, imposed in 1998 after claims Somali livestock was infected with disease, has had a crippling effect on both the rural and urban economies.

"Sixty per cent of our foreign currency was earned from the export of livestock to Saudi Arabia. Since the ban, the government has found it very difficult to make both ends of the budget meet," said Hussein Ali Duale, Somaliland's Minister of Finance.

Relying on remittances

Many families now survive on remittances from relatives who fled to Europe and North America during the civil war. The government estimates that the diaspora send back US $300m to Somaliland every year.

But remittances can provide only a short-term safety net.

"In the coming 15 to 20 years, most remittances will stop," said Mr Duale.

He believes that the next generation among the diaspora will have looser ties to their homeland.

"A young boy of 18 will ask 'Why should I send money to Somaliland?"

This means the economy urgently needs to diversify. And that requires massive investment in sectors like infrastructure and education.

But Somaliland's unresolved international status means it cannot access funds, from either private or public sources, on the scale required.

"The obstacle is that some companies say they cannot take their assets to a country with no international recognition, even if the country is peaceful," said Mr Duale.

And although Somaliland does currently receive a modest amount of external aid, it has no access to World Bank or IMF funds, or to bilateral budget support.

Poison pill

But some Somalilanders believe additional aid, if it is channelled through the state, may be a doubled-edged sword.

"It will kill the patient, it's a poison pill," said Hussein Bulhan of Somaliland's Institute for Development Solutions.

"It will aggravate problems, there will be more struggles within the ruling elite. To a large extent what pushed tyranny in Somalia, and finally brought the collapse of the Siad Barre regime, was internal struggle over who will have what."

Hussein Bulhan believes restrictions up to now on the level of external assistance have forced local solutions to problems.

"That is part of why we had to create and to think and to improvise. These experts that come tend to make people uncreative. In Somaliland, people had to do it on their own," he says.

"Help should be received from the outside world, but the initiative has been taken and that should not be destroyed."

The challenge now for Somaliland is not just attracting large inflows of external resources - but attracting them under the right terms.

BBC, 23 March 2005-

Somaliland's murder trial starts

Ten men have gone on trial in the breakaway republic of Somaliland, accused of murdering foreign aid workers in a series of attacks. Police were deployed around the court and journalists were refused entry.

The Somaliland authorities say those behind the killings are terrorists intent on destabilising the country.

The four victims - two Britons, one Italian and one Kenyan - were killed in separate attacks over a six-month period from October 2003.

The two Britons, Richard Eyeington, 62, and his wife Enid, 61, were shot through the window of their flat at a secondary school in Sheikh, 140km (87 miles) north-east of Hargeisa, the region's capital.

Their deaths followed the murder of an award-winning Italian aid worker, Annalena Tonelli, 60, in another part of Somaliland.

The former British colony of Somaliland declared independence from the rest of Somalia in 1991, when former leader Siad Barre was overthrown and the country descended into anarchy.

Somaliland's independence has not been internationally recognised.

Source: March 19, 2005

Historical Events in Somaliland Democracy

The people have for decades accepted the decisions of the traditional leaders and have not questioned their judgment even under circumstances that warrant skepticism. The main reason is the fact that the alternative has always been violence and the people always opted for arbitration over violence. There are few cases in Somaliland modern history where the people have felt violated and found unacceptable to follow the decisions made by their traditional leaders and almost in all those cases the rejection lead to a violent period that culminated with human rights abuse, lost of human lives, and destruction of property. During those hard times the people have refused to follow the traditional leaders and supported those who rebelled against the establishment including the traditional leaders.

This time the rejection of the decision made by the traditional leaders brought about the opportunity to give the Somaliland people the right to choose their leaders through popular elections: after the death of former President, H.E. President Egal. The traditional leaders have asked his successor; H.E. President Rayale to postpone the presidential election due to the uncertainty and the risk to the Republic from a hasty election. They pledged their strong support for extending his term for another two years and the President Rayale flatly rejected their recommendation and informed them his commitment to democracy and obligation under the constitution to put the decision to choose their leader in the hands of the people. He also promised to step down and congratulate the winner should he lose the presidential elections.

As it turned out he won a narrow victory with very small margin after a controversial decision by the Supreme Court. This was the first time he ran for a public office and this victory has further strengthened his commitment to democracy and strong believes in the ability, will and the desire of Somaliland people to choose their leaders. Also, at the same time the Somaliland people and nation have become indebted and grateful for the courage shown by the Chairman of Kulmiye party, Mr. Ahmed Silanyo who after nasty court fight conceded the elections and accepted defeat. These two events that happened within few months of each other have set very strong precedent. These two leaders will go down the history as the fathers of democracy in Somaliland.

Rayale will get the recognition and credit for making gutsy decision to put his faith in the hands of the people and Chairman Ahmed will get credit for saving the country by accepting defeat and the decision of the Supreme Court under a very difficult circumstances.

Once again the President has promised to the people and the international community his commitment to hold parliamentary election in early of 2005 and Chairman Ahmed supported him strongly despite the political rhetoric. The president's party UDUB currently controls more than 60% of the seats in the Parliament and by some estimates UDUB will be fortunate to get 40% seats in the new parliament, yet the president is determined to give the people the right under the constitution to elect their own representatives. According to the experts of Somaliland politics Kulmiye is expected to win majority of the seats and its leaders cannot contain themselves.

The Congress (Wakiilo and Guurti) have passed a new legislation with more than two thirds majority approval early in the year - the two thirds majority prevented the President from using his constitutional power to reject legislation - if passed by less than two thirds majority. The purpose of this legislation was to postpone the parliamentary elections indefinitely by requiring the government to do voter registration and exercise 100% control over the Somaliland borders before elections can be held. The President went to the court and challenged the authority of the Congress to deny the people the right to elect their own representatives under false pretense. The Supreme Court gave him a sweet victory by declaring the new legislation unconstitutional. The architect of the legislation was the Chairman of the Guurti Mr. Saleeban who said "parliamentary elections are not suitable for Somaliland at the present time due to the current conflict with Puntland". The Chairman has been advocating selecting new parliament through national conference attended by traditional and political leaders. This is not the first time the Chairman has advocated his national conference dream. He also called for similar conference during the referendum on Somaliland constitution and during the local government elections two years later. The Chairman campaigned for an elected office once during the local government elections in 2003 and he suffered very ugly defeat in the hands of the voters. Chairman Saleebaan, unlike Rayale and Ahmed Silanyo, does not believe in his heart the notion that the people alone have the right to choose their leaders.

Despite Chairman Saleebaan's reluctance to trust the people to elect their leaders to public office: The President and Chairman Ahmed have established very strong precedent, which will be very difficult for future leaders not to follow, these two leaders are literally carving the history of Somaliland democracy on stone every year they remain in the public live. The people have appreciated greatly and are grateful for their commitment to public service.

On this day, I ask you to join me to salute both President Dahir Rayale and Chairman Ahmed for making history and breaking new grounds that will ensure our children and their children will live peacefully and enjoy the right to choose their leaders for centuries to come. I'll like to remind Somaliland people to see the unfortunate situation in Somalia, which demonstrates the damage to the nation and to the people when the leaders neglect the national interest at the expense of their own personal interest.

I congratulate the Somaliland people and political establishment for beginning another campaign season for parliamentary elections. It is important to remember our democracy is only few years old while striving to improve its shortcomings. The President has again reiterated his commitment to fulfill his promise to the people, so the country will very likely have elections by April/May timeframe.

Rashid Garuf,

Source: March-18-2005.

President Dahir Riyaale's South African Connection

by Democracy Action Group (DAW)

The South African media, not known for giving adequate coverage to both Somalia and Somaliland in the past, began reporting about developments in Somaliland by 2000. In addition to the media coverage, the South African politicians, through the well connected Mvelaphanda founder, Tokyo Saxwell, availed the necessary political platforms for Somaliland politicians and citizens to promote their cause. The South African government also supported and financed South African election monitors to oversee both the Council elections and the presidential elections held in Somaliland in 2002 and 2003 respectively. South African delegations also delivered limited aid to Somaliland.

Apart from this new relationship spurred by business interests, Somaliland had a past with South Africa. Somaliland played a big role in the struggle against apartheid in the seventies and eighties. The honorable Abby Farah, originally from Somaliland, led a UN fact-finding team to South Africa in 1989, which met with leaders such as the late ANC stalwart Walter Sisulu. South Africa also provided medical assistance for the late President Mohamad Ibrahim Egal (Rahmatullah Alayh) who died on May 3, 2002.

South Africa's recent announcement in November 2004 recognizing the right for self determination for the Sahrawi Arab Democratic Republic gave additional hope to Somaliland which already enjoyed a favorable stand with the South African government. President Dahir Riyaale, emboldened by this favorable environment, declared his visit to South Africa to promote the country's cause. In a pub;ic just before his departure, President Dahir Riyaale announced that his the purpose of his visit to South Africa was primarily to get acquainted with South Africa's democratization process. But reliable sources inside Somaliland claim that his visit was intended to further his business investments and gain political kudos that could give his party the upper hand in the upcoming parliamentary elections. These sources claim that the composition of the presidential delegation reflects the president's real agenda. Excluding the Foreign Minister, who had a previously scheduled speech at a South African university, the Information Minister and the Minister of Fisheries and Coastal Development were the only senior members in the presidential delegation.

Many political observers are of the opinion that the president's visit was motivated by a business agenda rather than a political one, considering the suddenness of the trip and its 11 day span, an uncommon diplomatic privilege for the head of an unrecognized state. These views were further strengthened by the president's only speech after his return. President Riyaale, in a short speech to the nation upon his return to the country on February 12th, 2005 summarized his trip to South Africa in a single statement: " Three South African companies will soon invest in Somaliland and create more jobs". In his speech the president promised that the Minister of Information will issue a detailed statement, but Somalilanders are still waiting to be briefed.

In an exclusive interview with Benedicta Dube on 28 February 2005 and posted on Business in Africa Online on March 5th, 2005, President Dahir seemed to be emphasizing the business aspects of his trip. President Dahir Riyaale dandled the carrot of potential oil, gas, coal, gypsum and marine resources to interest Malaveland; a strategy which could adversely affect Somaliland due to the lack of governmental transparency policies, a non-inclusive approach towards national issues the lack of an effective and independent auditing.

Though President Riyaale met with local South African politicians and religious and civil society leaders, he spent most of his visit in meetings with the business elite of Mvelphanda and other subsidiaries. He met with Tokyo Saxwell, the controversial founder of Mvelphanda, Jonathan Oppenheimer of the Ppenheimer family who owns the giant De Beers diamond company, Mr. Vusi Mavimbela, Director of Business Strategy in charge of driving the continental expansion strategy of the company and other business executives. Mavelphanda, one of South Africa's investment powerhouses and a leader in and mineral exploration in South Africa, announced in January Oppenheimer of the De Beers Diamond Giant 2005 that it is planning to spearhead South Africa's ambitious oil explorations into African countries including Mozambique, Angola and Somaliland "The South African Business DayJanuary24, 2005".

Tokyo Saxwel, the founder of Maveland and a veteran ANC leader, is mired in controversies since the consolidation of the company in 1998. In January 2004 the US and the UN declared that his company had been among 270 individuals, organizations and companies that had received oil allocations and vouchers from Saddam Hussein, in violation of the UN imposed embargoon Iraq. Many South African businessmen also accuse him of benefitting from his close friendship with the South African Prime Minister, Thomas Mbeki.

President Dahir Riyale had also a brief meeting with Mr. Vusi Mavimbela, the company's Director of Business Strategy. Mr. Mavimbela was South Africa's Director General of the National Intelligence Agency from 1999 till late 2004. He joined Mvelaphanda in January 2005 to spearhead the company's expansion strategy into Africa. Mr. Mvimbela is one of the closest political, security and intelligence advisors to the South Africa's president, Thabo Mbeki, since 1994. Immediatelt upon his appointment as the Director of the National Intelligence Agency, the South African government was accused of spying against the German Embassy and the opposition Democratic party. Many in South Africa saw this as the blueprint of operandi for the new intelligence director. During his directorship of the South African spy agency, NIA, Mr. Mavimbela did not hide his belief the any country's intelligence resources must be used to promote its government policies and the objectives of the business corporations.

This cozy relationship between the government, the corporations and the intelligence services worried democracy advocates in South Africa. Similarly, political observers and democracy activists inside Somaliland rightly worry about the close relationship between Mr. Vusi Mavimbela and President Dahir Riyaale; both career intelligence officers before becoming business and political leaders respectively.

The first phase of the push into Somaliland by Mvelphanda is already underway with the blessing of President Dahir Riyaale. In his speech at a dinner hosted by the Muslim Judicial Council in Cape Town, President Dahir Riyaale said " We appreciate how South African companies such as Mvelephanda Holdings have attained our oil concessions, how your well placed mineral companies such as Plat Min are beginning gem stone mining and how South Africa's telecommunications sector have installed satellite technology, which gives us broadband, 24-hour internet access at times faster than some homes in Cape Town or Pretoria". "Somaliland Government Press Release, February 1st, 2005".

What the president failed to mention is that he already owns considerable shares in Anglo Platinum of South Africa, the world's leading Platinum producer. Anglo Platinum is closely connected to the De Beers diamond (owns 45% of De Beers shares) company run by Jonathan Oppenheimer who met President Dahir Riyaale while in South Africa.

Business sources inside Somaliland also claim that president Dahir Riyaale secretly met with a business executive from Mvelaphanda to diversify his investment portfolio in South Africa. The president's investments in South Africa were initiated by President Omar Gelle of Djibouti who convinced him to diversify into the lucrative South African business markets instead of concentrating on real estate in the Gulf, Europe and North America.

Ismail Omar Guelleh initiated the first South African business investment on behalf of President Dahir Riyaale in the summer of 2002 in Durban, South Africa. This coincided with President Guelleh's meeting with UN Secretary General, Kofi Annan during the later's visit to South Africa on July 6th, 2002 to attend the OAU/AU general meeting. Throughout 2003 President Guelleh was the defacto business consultant of President Dahir Riyaale in all South African business transactions.

This mutual partnership continued despite President Guelleh's declared anti-Somaliland stand. In an interview with IRIN in Djibouti on 29th October 2003, when asked about his relations with Somaliland, he responded: "It is going the same way as the south - there are now fundamentalists who want to destabilize the situation. Unless the south is stable, Somaliland cannot be stable, contrary to what they think. And of course we support a united Somalia. We cannot allow ourselves to advocate secession." To contain President Guelleh stand against Somaliland, President Dahir Riyaale paid him a visit on November 14th 2003 but to no avail. The anti-Somaliland stand of President Guelleh did not affect his business partnership with Somalilan's president. On the contrary, it flourished and extended into the South African markets.

President Guelleh's investments and business dealings in South Africa increased significantly by 2003. In mid 2005 he became infuriated over being implicitly tied to enquiries in France in the mysterious death of the French magistrate Bernard Borrel in October 1995. As a result of the Frenchs stand on the case, President Guelleh further increased his business involvement and indirectly mounted an assault on French interests ib Djibouti and South Africa. He started his assault with the French company; TotalFinaElf by buying into a rival South African company who competed for mineral prospecting in South Africa.

The French company lost the bid as a result of President Guelleh's aggressive investment in the competing South African mineral resource company with aid of additional funds from President Dahir Riyaale's allocated investment funds. With President Dahir Riyaale' recent visit to South Africa, his meeting with Mavelaphanda and Dee Beers tycoons, many observers expect that both Ismail Omar Guelleh and Dahir Riyaale will expand their investment portfolio beyond the South African resource company to include other investments in France and Abu Dhabi.

Many Somaliland observers and concerned citizens also worry about the implications of this Mavelphanda-Riyaale connection. In his speech to the Muslim Judicial Council in Cape Town, President Riyaale mentioned that South African oil companies including Mvelphanda, already have oil exploration concessions. The president also mentioned that other South African companies are already into the satellite telecommunication sector in Somalilnd, while other South African companies are already investing in mineral exploration including platinum, gem stones and other rare metals in Somaliland "Somaliland Government Press Release, February 1st, 2005".

Neither the details of these investments and oil and mineral resource explorations, nor the involvement of Mvelphanda with the blessing of the president, were ever mentioned, discused or debated inside Somaliland's House of Representatives or the Senate.

Therefore, many Somalilanders believe that President Dahir Riyaale MUST clarify the scope of his involvement with Mvelaphanda, the details of the oil and mineral resource exploration agreements and the whether he have investments or vested interests in South African companies who were granted concession rights in Somaliland?

Why Jonathan Oppenheimer, considered to be the richest man in Africa " The Economist July 15th, 2004" and the scion of the De Beers diamond dynasty that controls 60% of the world's $US8.3 billion market share in rough diamonds, would easily entertain an audience with President Riyaale of Somaliland?

Many in the trade and several countries including the US consider De Beers's system of doing business highly secretive "The Cartel isn't Forever, The Economist July 15th, 2004". Would President Riyaale succumb to this conditional secrecy of doing business with De Beers and leave Somaliland's democratic institutions and the public in the dark? And at what cost to his political future?

Regarding the oil exploration concessions, oil industry investors are aware of the exploration licenses granted to Conoco, along with Amoco, Chevron, Phillips and Shell in 1986. All sought and obtained exploration licenses for northern Somalia from Siad Barre's government. Somalia was soon carved up into concession blocs, with Conoco, Amoco and Chevron winning the right to explore and exploit the most promising ones.

What are the implications of granting the same rights to Mvelaphanda of South Africa? What are the details of these new concessions and what adverse implications they might have on Somaliland's integrity in the international markets in future oil explorations negotiations?

The public and the country's institutions deserve to have answers for these questions from President Dahir Riyaale.

Mohamad Doaleh (Cubayda) Ottawa, Canada,, Democracy Action Watch/ Somaliland

Source: March-16-2005.


In the world of dictatorship, it is said, there are three sorts of people: tyrants, victims and bystanders. That is the way things have always been in the world of dictatorship. For some obscure reason the roles of these three types of people complement each other. A tyrant cannot be a tyrant without a victim. And bystanders are necessary for the tyranny to continue because a thirst for power invariably accompanies one for publicity.

Many of us recall that before 21 October 1969 the former Somali Republic was a democracy that, despite its faults and shortcomings, was the envy of Africa and most of the Third World. We also recall how this thriving democracy was gradually transformed in a few years to the most oppressive dictatorship ruled by a ruthless tyrant, Mohamed Siyad Barre, until the litany of crimes against humanity that he had committed against his own people ultimately brought the final curtain down on his despotic rule.

When Barre came to power in 1969, one of the first acts of his government was to change the country's name from the Somali Republic to the Somali Democratic Republic in an attempt to hoodwink the Somali people and the international community at large following the example of communist countries around the world. But in former communist states that adopted the name "democratic" the use of the epithet was based on the claim that they provided the basic necessities of life for everyone. Barre knew perfectly well that, unlike the communist countries, he could not provide bread and butter for every citizen of his impoverished country. But, he wanted to use the name as a gimmick intended to soothe the people about the horrors that were to come.

Apart from this seemingly benign but portentous name change, the Barre regime's road to despotism had a number of landmarks, which identified each turning point. The first of these was the suspension of the constitution and the freedoms it guaranteed such as the freedom of the press and the freedom of speech. This was followed shortly afterwards by the enactment of a law establishing the National Security Court (NSC) and eliminating the few remaining civil liberties while also reserving the death penalty for any political action regarded as sabotage, subversion or "anti-revolutionary".

The next step was to remove from the Supreme Revolutionary Council those elements that were seen as an obstacle to Barre's future dictatorial rule. These included the older officers who could see through Barre's machinations and the more ambitious types. Thus, Generals Ainanshe and Gabayre and Colonel Del were tried by the NSC on trumped up charges and summarily executed. Not only was this intended as a warning to potential trouble makers but also as a means of gauging the extent of public tolerance to such executions.

Because the public was docile or indifferent, more executions followed as time went on and the slightest murmur of discontent led to imprisonment, torture and other forms of abuse. All this was intended to pave the way for the concentration of political power in the hands of Siyad Barre and this is what eventually happened particularly after assuming other roles and responsiblities besides the presidency. Nothing was done without his knowledge and nobody could tell him that a particular policy or action was wrong. We all know what finally became of his regime and the country at all large.

The descent of the Barre regime into a state of absolute tyranny despite the democratic nature of Somali society is quite instructive for predicting the future trend of the Rayale government and its probable end. This is because it has already emabarked on a course similar to that of the Barre Regime in its early days.

Nearly two decades ago, the people of Somaliland had taken up arms to overthrow Siyad Barre because of his repression against the people of Somaliland. Fourteen years after Somaliland restored its independence following the collapse of the Barre regime, the ugly face of repression is raising its head again. That regime's ghost is haunting us again because the dark forces that used to work for it and prop it up in power are lurking in the corners of every street in Hargeisa. The system and its informers, hirelings, quislings and stooges (which was called Faqash) are in power today in Somaliland or working to prop up the system. There are informers in every household. They are menacingly staring at us from every nook and cranny of the country. Somaliland is no longer the country we have cherished and yearned for, the country that so many heroes had sacrificed their precious blood for to free us from the clutches of Afweyne's repression. Unfortunately our dreams seem to be in tatters today as the country has fallen into the hands of conscienceless and unashamed clique of usurpers. They are the remnants of Faqash - a deadly breed who have learned and improved all their former master's tricks.

There are many former Faqash civil servants in Rayale's government. They are pests in our midst, who are there in that government for an illusory power and glory, for crumbs from Rayale's table, for satisfaction of their ambition and avarice. They allow themselves to be used as expendable instruments of oppression of their brethren by this despicable regime. Thus, those who are in power in Somaliland today are no different in many respects from the evil regime that we replaced one and a half decades ago.

We were asked to believe that the western style democracy that Somaliland had adopted would protect our rights: the right to express ourselves freely without fear, the right to protest peacefully as enshrined in the constitution, the presumption of innocence until proven guilty and so on. But these rights are simply written on a piece of paper called the constitution, which the President uses when it suits him and throws into the dustbin when it doesn't.

Rayale may not have sentenced anyone to death but his regime, unlike his predecessor's, has gone to an extraordinary length to suppress the truth. His regime has sanctioned the use of death threats, beatings, torture, rape and detention of innocent people without trial. People can no longer express themselves freely anymore for they are likely to be detained under the law titled "Endangering the Peace and Stability of the Country'. It is an all-encompassing law similar to those enacted by Siyad Barre's military junta and is calculated to silence the critics of the government. Anyone who expresses views critical of the government is sentenced in a Kangaroo court- a mobile National Security Tribunal chaired by the discredited Internal Minister, Ismail Adan Osman, the notorious former small-time petty Faqash informer who was responsible for the deaths of so many of his own kith and kin during Afweyne's regime. He was the first man whose house was destroyed by the SNM forces when they captured Hargeisa.

Lately, it has become customary for Rayale's regime to employ hirelings to intimidate journalists who try, in all their efforts, to report to us the truth about what is going on in the country and to illuminate from time to time the ambiguities surrounding the government's policies, priorities and programmes.

On 31st August, the Editor-in-Chief of Jamhuriya, Africa's most arrested journalist, was raided in his office around midnight and taken into custody in a local police station under the direct orders of President Rayale himself after writing in his newspaper a report from Nairobi indicating the government's leanings towards Somali unity while the opposition was firmly attached to the independence of Somaliland. Hassan was harangued and threatened by the police that he "would be slaughtered in the dry riverbed of Hargeisa". In a similar manner, the free-lance journalist, Mohammed Arrale, who sent the report to Jamhuriya from Nairobi, and who happens to be of the same clan as Hussein Ali Dualeh (Awil), the Finance Minister, was so savagely beaten up by a Kenyan gang believed to be hired by Awil and paid for from the public funds with the tacit understanding of President Rayale. Awil who was a former Ambassador to Kenya possesses property in that country and maintains extensive contacts with the local people there that enable him to hire local gangs to roughen up or eliminate anyone who exposes the government's hidden agendas.

The Minister of Interior, Ismail Faqash, as he is famously known, introduced his own measures to impose restrictions on the liberties and personal freedoms of the Somaliland citizens particularly those who live within his reach - i.e. Hargeisa and its environs. Authorised mobile courts try government critics, on the President's directive, with none of the normal judicial rules and procedures. The tribunals would not have to prove guilt beyond reasonable doubt or follow established rules of evidence thus violating the basic principles of judicial procedure. One such individual, who was recently detained without trial, under this sweeping law, is Boqor Raabi Yusuf of Salahley who publicly expressed views, which were seemingly inclined towards Somali unity. He was immediately arrested under the trumped up charges of `endangering the peace and stability of the country'. However, when the Chairman of the Somaliland parliament, Ahmed Mohamed Aden (Qaybe), expressed explicit views regarding his long-standing support of Somali unity on Somaliland TV, it was not seen by the Somaliland government as a treasonable offence despite his high position in a state claiming to have reinstated its former independence and sovereignty. This was a clear indication of the government's political leanings favouring Somali unity rather than the independence of Somaliland.

Earlier, Boqor Osman Aw Mohamoud (Buur Madow) of Erigavo was arrested for expressing his views by saying that Rayale was plotting a strategy to derail Somaliland by rendering the strategic port of Berbera defunct in collaboration with Ismail Omar Guelleh of Djibouti. Boqor Buur Madow who exposed the degree and scale of this conspiracy was branded a `liar' by Rayale's vengeful regime. The Boqor was held incommunicado in Hargeisa Central Prison for many months without being charged because he apparently had crucial evidence that could have implicated Rayale. The Boqor precisely identified and pinpointed Guelleh's machinations and conspiracies against Somaliland and he was alerting the public to this danger. Today, Boqor Buur Madow has been vindicated. Guelleh has not only shown his intention to render Berbera port defunct but also to destroy Somaliland itself with the collusion and collaboration of Rayale. In a recent statement, Guelleh said to his people that Djibouti would be the only port in East Africa from where all the livestock of the area would be exported. He added that he had always looked forwarded to the day when Djibouti would monopolise exporting Somali livestock.

On another count, Boqor Buur Madow was justified when he said that the people of Sool were ready to engage in a dialogue with the government of Somaliland but that government officials were repeatedly stalling these efforts. In any event, the public chose to be bystanders and to watch al these criminal acts on the sidelines.

On 18th May 2004, the National Security Committee modelled on Siad Barre's system sentenced 150 youths to prison terms ranging from 6 months to one year after they were accused of having participated in a demonstration held in Hargeisa. The youths, who were chanting `We don't want Rayale, we don't want the dollar taker', demonstrated against the President at Khayriya on the auspicious occasion of 18th May.

The police clubbed, trampled upon and chased the remnants of the angry demonstrators all the way to Xero Jaad (Central Hargeisa Khat Market). Many of these young men were sent to Mandera Central Prison simply because they were chanting `we don't want Rayale, we don't want the dollar taker'. The public did not react to these brutalities and gross violations of human rights.

In December 2004, Mr. Kayse Yusuf Ali, a former digital engineer, who is now a councillor in Hargeisa accused the Mayor of Hargeisa, Engineer Hussein Mohamed Jiciir and the Interior Minister, Ismail Adan of plundering public resources. In a press conference held at Hadhwanaag Hotel, Councillor Kayse stated that `Land is a common resource and should be held in public ownership'. He was arrested by police the next morning while driving his car out of a Garage under the direct order of the Interior Minister, Ismail Adan, whose only qualification is how to arrest, beat and torture innocent people - an art which he had learned from his Faqash mentors and in which he excelled under Rayale's administration since then. Councillor Kayse was deprived of his liberty for telling the truth. But for the Rayale regime the truth is unpalatable and should not be told. It is now the rule rather than the exception for the Rayale regime to act in a highhanded manner towards traditional leaders. A traditional leader is an institution `unto himself' and should be protected. Even Siyad Barre used to shy away from deataining Sultans. It is now common practice in Somaliland and more so under Rayale's regime. It is we, the public, who legalised these abuses by being indifferent and complacent about what is going on in our country.

No one has protested, against these flagrant violations of our freedoms and civil liberties. There was not even a whimper. We are simply bystanders. Some of us are not even aware of these invasive and criminal policies already in effect. Only a few local human rights organisations especially African Rights headed by Raqiya Omaar have expressed their detestations of these criminal acts. Raqiya has gone out of her way, time and again, to bring these human rights abuses to the international attention. She, too, was a victim. The verbally incontinent Interior Minister, Ismail Adan, had repeatedly threatened, insulted and accused her of being pro-Kulmiye for simply doing her job. But far from backing-off from any of these abuses, Rayale and Co. greedily grabbed more power to the extent that police powers far exceed the limits of tolerance.

According to African Rights, `Somalilanders who endured years of repression under Siyad Barre find it deeply troubling to see the return of some of the most intrusive and offensive practices of that era". In May 2003, night curfews were common in Hargeisa and police routinely stopped vehicles after 10.00 p.m. when passengers and motorists were forced to leave their cars and ordered to `go to bed'- a reminder of the "Maseexanwaa"- the time when Siyad Barre's military junta subjected the people of the then North West to a hellish nightmare. This infamous curfew was evident in an article, which appeared in The Somaliland Times on 24 May 2003, titled "Hargeisa Under Undeclared Night Curfew".

On 20th April 2003, a group of Kulmiye supporters, mainly women and children, who tried to protest against the results of the presidential election were brutalised by the police. Among the women who were brutally beaten up with the butt of a gun by the police included Nura Hussein Jama and Fathiya Jama Haid, both Londoners who are related by marriage to the Internal Minister, Ismail Adan Osman. Fathiya came back to London with heavy bruises visible on her body. Kinsi Adleef who was four months pregnant at the time was also beaten up with the butt of a gun. Kinsi had become very ill in the Jail and `was foaming at the mouth, her tongue was sticking out and her teeth were stuck together and her eyes had a fixed look' according Africa Rights. The police wouldn't even allow her to see a doctor simply because she belonged to Kulmiye.

On 15 August 2004, a 16-year-old girl from Majertinia, Zamzam Ahmed Dualeh, was charged with espionage and conspiracy to assassinate the Vice-President, Ahmed Yusuf Yasin. Zamzam suffered beatings, rape and torture. A man who accompanied her, Omar Jama Warsame, was also beaten up and tortured. At an initial court hearing on 4th October, the pair was brought to trial without legal representation. Amnesty International said that `their trial has already fallen foul of international standards of fairness'. At the latest court hearing on 24 November 2004, the judge sentenced the pair's four defence lawyers to a prison term of three years each for `allegedly laughing at the public prosecutor'- a charge which was established later to be unfounded and baseless according to those who attended the court.

A disdain for human rights was what the Rayale regime had shown from the start. This administration tore up, rejected or repeatedly undermined the constitution from day one. This hastened the evaporation of the public good will and the sympathy the Rayale administration enjoyed briefly in the first year of its term. Within a year resentment and hostility, even among some UDUB supporters, reached its highest pitch. The administration's systematic abuse of the constitution has reached new heights of absurdity and new depths of betrayal of public trust.

On 5th March 2005, Kulmiye supporters gathered at the party's headquarters in Hargeisa. The headquarters of the party was surrounded by police equipped with automatic machine guns and high calibre guns mounted on four-wheel drive vehicles in an effort to intimidate the people. The Chairman complained about this and wrote to the president and the leaders of the two houses. The written complaint was submitted to the Interior Minister to comment on it.

In his reply to the Chairman of Kulmiye, Ahmed Mohamed Mohamoud (Silanyo), the Minister said in his proverb-ridden letter containing personal attacks and character assassinations that he `.would take cue from no one and anyone who is endangering the peace and stability of the country would be severely dealt with'. The Minister showed an unbridled passion for suppressing the Somaliland people by denying them the right to stage `peaceful demonstrations' - something that is enshrined in the constitution. Ismail's letter is a clear testimony that this regime is in no mood to obey the constitution and the laws of the land, which is tantamount to tearing them up and throwing them into the dustbin.

The executive shouldn't have the power to take away the rights and liberties of Somaliland's citizens. The response of the government to the above instances is that national security must come before the civil liberties of the individual. This is absolutely absurd as liberty is indivisible.

A measure that curtails the liberty of one citizen necessarily curtails the liberty of other citizens. A citizen should only be deprived of liberty only after proper judicial process but not as a result of a political decision as is the common practice of the Rayale regime.

Thus, how people are arrested or deprived of their rights and liberties in Somaliland is no different from how Siyad Barre treated his critics. Nowadays, everyone who is a critic of the government is labelled as a `traitor' in the eyes of Rayale's regime.

It is true that Somaliland has adopted a pluralistic system of government- a western style democracy. It is equally true that Rayale was democratically-elected, no matter how controversial. But it is also an indisputable fact that today's Somaliland is not a democracy but a dictatorship in disguise.

The vision laid out by Rayale and his unscrupulous clique is the same vision laid out by Barre for what was then known as `Somali Democratic Republic'. There is a name for this kind of regime in which cops rule, answering only to themselves. It's called a Police State. Nothing more need be said, nothing more need be understood. It is a profoundly pessimistic view. It is a dismal dream and a spectacular self-ruin.

If people had not succumbed to the evils of Siad Barre's regime, the Somali people wouldn't have been in the state of affairs in which they find themselves today. We should remember Edmund Burke's famous words, "The only thing necessary for the triumph of evil is for good men to do nothing". It is high time we took head on this tyrannical regime of Rayale.


Somaliland Women: Oppressed breadwinners and silent peacemakers

BY Bashir Goth

As Somaliland joined world countries in celebrating the International Women's Day on March 8, it may be incumbent on each and every one of our people and particularly our government to take stock of the social, economic, political and educational status of Somaliland women.

It is remarkable to see how the day is traditionally marked by holding meetings, making speeches, singing praises for the valiance and heroism of our mothers, wives, sisters, daughters and co-workers and wrapping it up with ringing words of promises and ambitious plans that everyone knows would dissipate into thin air the minute after the euphoria of the day is over. Women are then left facing the same torturous journey of suffering in ignorance, lacking their rights, shackled by social taboos and body mutilation and all their efforts rendered useless due to lack of power and gender discrimination both at the workplace and at home.

The undeniable fact in Somaliland is the conspicuous role of women as breadwinners in almost every household in the country. The traditional open markets are overpopulated by women vendors selling every conceivable product such as Qat*, foodstuff, household items, clothes, jewelry, money exchange, wood, water and other merchandise. On top of this they still remain loyal homemakers, loving mothers, dutiful wives, lovely sisters and daughters and silent victims. Our women also continue to carry out their traditional role of being the glue of peace and harmony by marrying across tribal lines, repairing ruptured relationships among clans and holding society together; thus strengthening and consolidating peace from the grassroots and without any pomposity and bravado.

Our women have a long tradition of not relying on government as a source of income. They have known for a long time that government jobs belong to men; hence they have made it a habit to rely on their business acumen and their feminine instinct to feed the children and keep the family home intact amid backbreaking economic burdens. One may ask where are the men and what do they do? The answer is they do what they are good at doing and always do; loitering around streets, Qat outlets and government offices trying to secure money for their daily dosage of Qat or splurging the meager income of their women folks on their personal luxuries, thus squandering family resources and depriving children of having good food, clothing, medical care and education. As if robbing them of their hard-earned money and neglecting parental duties towards their children is not enough, many men also insult their wives and break their pride by holding the sword of polygamy over their necks to coercion them for more allowance and more silence to their abuse.

Celebrating the International Women's Day should make us ponder how we can stop abusing our women both physically and emotionally, providing them their rights and empowering them in social, economic and political spheres.

Although the present Somaliland government is the first to appoint women in the cabinet, a commendable step indeed, it is important to remember that holding a political post is only a small step of the long march waiting for us to undo the enormous injustices suffered by women. We may suggest to our government to commemorate the International Women's Day by reliving our women of the following burdens:

1- Female Genital Mutilation (FGM):

This physical torture and mutilation of women's God-given sexual organs also causes enormous and life-long psychological scar to our women. It is a cruel and abusive practice aimed at putting women in their proper place from a very early age; teaching them that they are property and like any other property they have to be kept in lock and latches. It tells them that they are not trust worthy even with their own bodies and deprives them of having a healthy and comfortable sex life. They learn that they are only worth the scar and the stitches they carry, making them to recoil with shame and embarrassment in every encounter with a gynecologist. This Pharonic practice should be banned and Somaliland should join other pioneer African countries including neighboring Djibouti in ratifying the Maputo Protocol that seeks to outlaw female genital mutilation (FGM). If Somaliland can ban plastic bags for being an environmental disaster in a Ministerial decree, it is indeed capable also of outlawing FGM for being human rights disaster in a Ministerial or Presidential decree as well.

2- Polygamy

Another equally abusive practice is the misuse of the Islamic tradition of polygamy. It is not uncommon in Somaliland to see an unemployed man without any source of income; who relies on his wife to feed him and his children and also to give him daily expenses for his personal luxury to marry another woman. A man like this often justifies his action by marshalling hackneyed reasons and always putting the blame on the poor woman for pushing him to this end. However, the real reason is an economic one as a second or third marriage would enable him to diversify his income and allow him to increase his daily Qat portion. Lately, it is has become a trend among Somalilanders in the Diaspora to leave their wives and children in their host countries, return home and marry young women as second or third wives. The government doesn't have to look far as some of the cabinet members have done this and are proud of their action. It means little to these men whether their wives burn out their entire lives caring for their children in the freezing weathers of Europe and North America as long as t hey sleep in the warm bosoms of dutiful young wives who are at the age of their daughters or grand daughters.

The government of Somaliland has to follow suit of other Muslim countries such as Morocco, Malaysia, Syria, Jordan, Egypt, Iran, Pakistan and Bangladesh to include `No-Polygamy' clause in the marriage contract. It should also take the lead in demanding its cabinet Ministers and government officials to shun polygamy and stay monogamous as long as they remain in their government posts.

3- Education:

Despite being the breadwinners of every household, women in Somaliland have the highest rate of illiteracy and only a few girls are enrolled in school. It is also quite disheartening to see these few lucky girls who got the chance to go to school shrouded in gloomy black Talibani garments and exiled to the end row of the class as if they were lepers. Their pathetic status in schools reminds them again and again that they are inferior beings whose appearance in schools or playing with boys is a social taboo. There is nothing that provokes sympathy for the sorry condition of our women more than watching small girls at the very tender age of three to five wearing this flowing, tip-to-toe covering tents; shuffling towards schools or Quranic madrasas amid the simmering heat of the African weather. These young girls should have been running, jumping around, hip hopping towards school, playing hide-and-seek on the way and enjoying their free spirit and joyful childhood like other children of the world. It is at this very impressionable age that irreparable damages are inflicted on their ego, their pride, their ambitions and their character. Seeing these kids' healthy cultural growth stunted by these layers of clothing one may wonder whether we live in a society of pedophiles or lascivious maniacs that Queen Arrawelo might have been right after all in her castration drive of Somali men.

The real tragedy, however, is when the fledgling universities of Somaliland, institutions expected to cultivate a culture of freethinking and enlightenment, condone this oppression of women. All over the world, a university is considered to be a place where every imaginable topic under the sun could be debated, a place where no topic or subject is considered to be a taboo or above academic research. It is imperative for a healthy academic institution of higher learning to encourage free expression in every sphere of the student's college life. But Somaliland universities seem to have chosen the to play the conformity card and move with the herd; skirting the challenging task of leading the way in questioning, assessing and looking at all issues through times tested method of academic skepticism.

It is the responsibility of the Somaliland government, particularly the Ministry of Education, and the academic community to constantly assess the education situation and adopt curricula that encourage personal freedoms and safeguards young girls against being victims of ancient and retrogressive social traditions. Somaliland government and people should know that without educating women and unfettering their minds, we could not dream of building an enlightened and progressive society.

4- Political empowerment

Although Somaliland's present government has set the tone for women's participation in politics by giving them several Ministerial posts, the reality is that our women are still underrepresented in every realm of the political spectrum. It is not healthy to see only two or three faces of women in a cabinet of almost 50 Ministers and no women representation at all in the two houses of parliament. As women in our tribal and male dominated society are seen as neutral elements who cannot extend full allegiance to a single tribe, it may not be a great feat to demand the allocation of a reasonable number of seats for them in both houses.

Celebrating the International Women's Day with the intention of improving the social, economic, educational and political status of women and keeping these issues and many others in mind will surely give a real meaning to the Day and the commemoration a more rewarding enterprise.

Bashir Goth, a Somali journalist living in the UAE. E-mail:

*Qat: narcotic leaves chewed by the Somalis

Somaliland Elections

From the Economist Intelligence Unite/EIU Viewswire, March 7, 2005

Somaliland's House of Representatives finally passed the long-awaited electoral law on January 18th but in doing so made the date set for parliamentary elections-March 29th-implausible, because the adopted legislation makes the elections contingent on a national census. This was the conclusion of the National Electoral Commission in a statement to the media on January 22nd.

The statement, signed by the six members of the commission, announced that it was impossible to conduct a population census or register all eligible voters within the 70 days remaining before the election date. The new law also requires demarcation of all parliamentary districts to be completed 60 days before voting day, another impossibility given that nearly half of the 43 districts are new.

The commission stated that it would consult Somaliland's three political parties-all of whom have called for the parliamentary elections to be held as scheduled-on the matter.

Some observers in the administrative capital, Hargeisa, have accused the House of Representatives of self-interest, suggesting that many of its members will face unemployment if they are not re-elected.

Constitutionally, the president, Dahir Riyale Kahin, has the authority to dissolve parliament and hold elections within three months, but this would be a bold move given the international interest in the elections, which will mark the final stage of Somaliland's democratisation process.

SOURCE: Country Report March 11, 2005

Iqbal Jhazbhay chastises African Commission for ignoring Somaliland and Western-Saharan issues

Dr. Iqbal Jhazbhay, South African Academic and Somaliland's advisor, expressed his disappointment with the African Commission's oversight of the urgent need to take action on the issue of self-determination in Somaliland and Western Sahara.

Following are his comments to the BBC on the UK-led Commission for Africa's final report:

"I believe this new and bold attempt to mobilise and lobby for Africa's diverse and spectacular people will be remembered warmly. "Despite many limitations, some understandable and some unsustainable, the Commission for Africa report should be welcomed and applauded by Africans and the world.

"A serious engagement with the report is suggested for all those who really care and for their own good want to share with Africa.

"I am particularly saddened that the Commission did not see the urgency for action in promoting peace and security - specifically in Western Sahara and Somaliland.

"Recommendations from the commissions on the last two unsettled questions of African self-determination would have gone a long way to give hope and trust to Western Saharans and Somalilanders all over the world.

"Clearly the commissioners chose not to highlight specific political issues, such as Somaliland, in an attempt to unite the continent. "Instead, they focused on the larger picture - strategic issues such as peace, education, health, trade, accountability, aid and debt.

"The prime challenge, for the Commission and all caring African activists, is to ensure that the report's proposed independent monitoring system is established to give teeth to all these proposals. "I am happy the Commission for Africa's recommendations underline an approach of African and world responsibility for the African continent and its people.

"Today world peace and security is too closely interwoven for us to neglect any continent in the world.

"The world's positive response to the Asian tsunami disaster is concrete evidence that the world does and can care, when it has the will to do so.

"South African President Mbeki's recent idea that African pension funds be pooled together to source the funding for Africa's development initiatives, such as Africa's New Partnership for Africa's Development (Nepad), need authoritative attention.

"I hope the Commission will consider this idea.

"Are Africans and world leaders listening?

"Are they willing to primarily invest hard-earned African pension funds in African economies?

"Time will tell. " -




Wariye Magan Ibrahim

With Parliamentary Elections due in less than few weeks: the political fever is getting warmer. Already there appears to be a record division and dissolution among the leadership. For the time being, we are heading to a disastrous territory unless the political gap is mended and compromise solution put forward.

At the center of the dispute is the issue of power sharing, fair election that represents entire Somaliland population and interpretation of the basic articles of the constitution that concerns the election laws. Both sides claimed vigorously to be in favor of fair election in an effort to win the heart of the voters, yet couldn't come up a satisfactory scheme.

The principal disagreements between Legislation branch and the Executive so far concern the authority over who should drive the election wagon. That is understandable given the inexperienced politicians running the show, disorganized press and clan politics. However, the missing item between the egocentric characters challenging each other is allowing a cooling period for tensions to calm. Then get back to the negotiation table to design a new voting plan. Keep in mind; Somaliland's democracy is not your typical western democracy. Remember our foundation is based on power sharing by balancing clan politics with modern representation. So, don't expect a perfect solution. This is very rare and new kind of democracy. Fortunately this is how we flourished so far.

The basis of the agreement should be how to deal with Eastern districts. Should we allow the elections to proceed in Sool Region where possible? Or should we appoint their representatives until such a date when election is possible to be held in these areas? Main settlement should be based on how to balance clan representation based on the population and not the land they occupy. There should be guidelines that clarify the authority of different branches of the government defined under the constitution.

No one discounts the enormous challenges we face in order to achieve all these mentioned points. But if politicians are willing to become a bit altruistic and sacrifice a little bit of their ego, new statesmen and heroes will be born that forever go down the history as the saviors of the second stage of the Republic.

One thing is certain. It is that Somaliland is in need of good leadership as we face a world of growing challenges that are not for the weak and faint at heart: not for the uneducated and fearful but for the bold and strong. When one thinks about the global nature of politics, constitutional advancement, economic and social affairs and international relations, our representatives must be people of much prominence and clout. Every aspect of life in Somaliland is on a path of development these days and the leadership must not lag behind but must take its frontal position and carry everything else along with it.

We must not forget the reasons why we are here today and the contributions our former leaders made: to make Somaliland stable state. Today it is largely as a result of their efforts, and what has been achieved, that we are able to build on their accomplishments. But the Somaliland today is not the Somaliland of yester-year when many things did not matter and many excuses of leadership could be accepted with sympathy. With a maturing of the people and increasing demands for greater achievements, comes the need for better political representation at government level.

Somaliland has seen too much falling out between politicians in office and no one wants to see this ever happen again. The last thing we need is political instability. It can only scare off investors, recognition and affect the economic lives of the people. Much is expected of those vying for political office and for those already in position of power. They should keep in mind that good governance will ensure a peaceful and prosperous Somaliland. Bad governance or the collapse of a government will have the opposite effect. And everything is based on COMPROMISE.

Magan Ibrahim, Political Editor, Minnesota, USA.


Awdalnews Netowrk, 11 March 2005

The University of the Witwatersrand's International Relations Department and the Centre for Africa's International Relations will hold a discussion on the recent developments in the Horn of Africa with the participation of PROFESSOR DAVID SHINN from the GEORGE WASHINGTON UNIVERSITY and EMMANUEL REJOIS from UN GLOBAL SOUTH FELLOW on 15 March at 1O:00 A.M at ROOM CB 107 - CENTRAL BLOCK, EAST CAMPUS, Johannesburg, South Africa.

In an invitation received by Awdalnews Network, the organizers expressed their pleasure in hosting the discussion, especially in light of President Mbeki's statement in Parliament on 11 February that South Africa "has taken the first steps to engage the new government of Somalia [and will] assist in the challenging process of the reconstruction of what had become a failed state." The African Union has also indicated its intension to send a fact-finding mission to Somaliland soon.

Prof Shinn's research interests focus on East Africa and the Horn. He twice served as US ambassador to Ethiopia. Mr Rejois is on leave from the UN's Department of Peacekeeping Operations and comes to Wits from Addis Ababa where he was assigned to the Ethiopia/Eritrea peacekeeping force.

Interested parties can confirm their attendance with: MS DALENE HARRIS - TEL: 011-717-4382, March 12, 2005 - 15:44

When intellectuals are not catalyst for tangible change

"Where are the Somali intellectuals?" a feeble voice said. I then turned to my right and saw an old Somali lady sitting on the uncomfortable red form at the bus stand where I was also waiting to take a bus to work. I could not fail to notice how the cold weather affected her dry skin and scales it left on her wrinkled forehead and cheeks. Looking at her and trying to understand the pain she was feeling, I tried to console her and politely said "what about the Somali intellectuals?" The woman pouted and rose reluctantly to catch her bus and said "nothing" inconsequentially.

On the bus, I studied her face which was concern written all over for few moments. I opened my mouth to say something, shut it again, and then asked myself "where are the Somali intellectuals?" I racked the section of my brain which specializes to interpret the perplexing questions. A message came fast "The woman was saying where the Somali intellectuals are when we are in this hellhole weather?" That sounded distinctly less convincing since some of the intellectuals are in this notoriously unreliable weather too. Another message was received "The woman was saying what Somali intellectuals are doing about our plight?"

Before discussing what the intellectuals have or haven't done throughout the civil war, which led the dire situation that Somalis are in, it is important to understand who an intellectual is? Are intellectuals organised in a manner that gives them a voice and clear sense of purpose that deals with the concurrent problems facing Somalia?

It is difficult to have a generally accepted definition of who is an intellectual. Certainly, everybody who holds a degree university or is a pen pusher does not necessarily qualify to be called an intellectual. Generally, there are two groups within any society, those who supply the thinking and those who act upon the supplied thought. Intellectuals make use their brain faculties and have abilities and skills to analyze events or current issues and help the society to develop programmes that are useful to their existence. They do not normally make decisions based on instincts and emotions. Intellectuals can be writers, academics, artists, community leaders, etc. with different backgrounds.

If you carefully examine the activities of Somali intellectuals, it is clear that they have been playing oddly and contradicting roles since the decomposition of Said Barre's government. According to their roles, they can be divided into three groups, Progressive Intellectuals, Regressive Intellectuals and Opportunistic Intellectuals.

Progressive Intellectuals are true patriots who always try to make a meaningful contribution to the society and they are able to think beyond the immediate present. Regressive Intellectuals always try to satisfy their immense hunger for power and money. Telling the truth is a something that they have lost contact over the years. They covertly or overtly serve against common causes. Opportunistic Intellectuals have no agenda of their own since they are incapable to take any endeavour of their own. You see them initially supporting one policy, but later switching support to a contradictory policy. They are good at blaming others and make the loudest noises.

Of course, the woman was trying to reach out intellectuals who are capable to bringing solutions to our nation's acute problems. Unfortunately, Somalia's political systems only recognise intellectuals to the extent that they are merely the pawns and foot soldiers in pursuit of political power. This exclusion has been deliberate and systematic. The continued marginalisation of the intellectuals from the collective and constructive participation in the political, economic and social agenda of the nation is common knowledge. The current government is a case in point.

Sadly, under different and difficult circumstances, many intellectuals fled from their homeland and were forced to comment Somalia's plight from a position of detached safety. However, there are growing numbers of intellectuals who are engaged with people at grass root level and those in the Diaspora in this critical time and they are trying to influence the course of events. Although the intellectuals are trying to address Somali ills, yet they have not managed to arrest the calamity that our country has been in for the past fifteen years, mainly for two reasons.

First, our unity has been severely damaged and we are in a state of disarray and bewilderment. We know that unity is strength while division is destructive and weakness. The strength of any society is measured by its unity and cohesiveness of its elite. Our society is never put to a greater test than when it is confronted with the task of creating united front against the evils that caused the deep social divisions among us. The existence of many uncooperative intellectual-based organizations that only exist by name is one of the main reasons why we are paying the heavy price of failing to end the internal strife and reconstitute the failed state of Somalia.

Secondly, the general public is failing to respond in good faith the calls coming from intellectuals in order to bring and establish a foundation upon which Somalis can rebuild their country. It may seem for the common people that there are conflicting messages coming from intellectuals but they need to ignore the voices of those whose foresights are blinded by materialistic things.

Somali people desperately need good Somali intellectuals that can stop the perpetualbattle and widespread famine that Somalia became notoriously famous for the last fifteen years. But that can only happen when intellectuals show strong leadership and speak one united voice. It is difficult to foresee how ordinary people can sink their differences when intellectuals fail to present a united front at the present critical chapter of our history.

Coincidently, the woman and I got off the bus as it neared our target at the crowded Uxbridge station. I looked at her thoughtfully and said in a level tone "As stakeholders of modern Somalia, the intellectuals should be by right a central plank of any Somali government; however they have been unable to lead Somalia back to normality". "That means we live in a time when intellectuals are not catalyst for tangible change?" she said intently.

Mohamed Mukhtar Ibrahim London, March 11, 2005

Somaliland: Political Deterioration and Collusive leadership

In the mid of 2002, Somaliland was a shining star in the Horn of Africa. The country and the nation were undivided, peaceful, and stable. Democratic process was growing deep roots in the country. Insecurity, intimidation, and murder were not an issue. Infra structure was recovering, economy was progressing, social services were improving, and defense was strong and organized. Somaliland People had high expectations to prosper in their land and international community admired the achievements reached in the short-time

After almost three years, things are deteriorating in all walks of life in Somaliland and people`s hope, dreams, and aspirations are shattered again. The alarming events that took place during Riyale`s administration and his clique are beyond imagination. These events include:-

- Excluding Eastern Regions (Togdheer, Sool, and Sanaag) from Somaliland administration to create tension between east and west and to encourage Puntland-like autonomous region in the east in order to break up the country for reunion with Somalia.

- Compromising territorial and national integrity by conceding to Puntland and letting it invade and occupy Las-Anod thus derailing Somaliland diplomatic recognition.

- Shelving the constitution and replacing the democratic process of the country with dictatorship ruling it with presidential decrees and directives like Siad`s Regime, appointing and promoting individuals who are loyal to the Regime while expelling government officials critical to Riyale`s subversive policies.

- Crippling national economy with widespread corruption of public funds without transparency and accountability, shutting down Berbera Sea Port forcing Eastern Regions to import goods from Bosaso Port and Western Regions to use Djibouti Port both sides enhancing the economies of enemy administrations thus posing bigger threat to Somaliland independence and territory, discouraging private sector investments with frightening bribes and kickbacks, plundering land with public funds, displacing the poor, and dooming social services and development projects.

- Demoralizing and weakening armed forces substantially with the absence of proper chain of command, good organization, reliable armaments, better salaries and other accommadations. Armed forces are vulnerable to defeat if their morale is low and disorganized.

- Dishonoring SNM Struggle (1982-1990) and denying its veterans and orphans of basic recognition, and preventing them from participating in the administration of the country they liberated and shed their blood.

- Committing human rights abuses and repressive acts, cracking down freedom of press and peaceful demonstrations, blaming, intimidating and threatening opposition leaders and democracy forces, creating an atmosphere of fear and intimidation, and murdering foreign workers and citizens.

- Interfering or delaying elections to change the outcome to favor the Regime,inventing political conflicts between government branches and opposition parties, and resorting to divisive tactics among clans to divert public attention from the unabated deterioration of socioeconomic and military situation in the country.

- Being inconsiderate of the unemployment and poverty spreading across the country and of the youth taking risky trips abroad for better life.

- Alleging existence of secret treasonous relationship between president Riyale, Col. Abdullahi Yusuf and president Ismael Omer Ghelle of Djibouti to sabotage Somaliland independence politically. Riyale`s inaction and contribution to the political deterioration of the country is an evidence of the existence of this alleged antiSomaliland conspiracy. Both Ghelle and Col. Abdullahi Yusuf praise president Dahir Riyale Kahin in their interviews which would not be possible if Riyale were committed to the cause of Somaliland. This is very, very troubling.

These enormous political blunders taking place in Somaliland could not be attributed, under any circumstances, to weak presidency as such immense political, socioeconomic, and military disintegration of the country is no way tolerable under any weak, visionless president of Somaliland. Likewise, it could not be attributed to lack of economic resources as there are many African countries which are much smaller than Somaliland in size and with less human and natural resources but with viable, stable and progressive states like Malawi, Benin, Djibouti, Guinea-Bissau, Togo, Equatorial Guinea, Swaziland etc.

The increasing troubling developments in Somaliland, without any improvement, evidently indicate the existence of a political sabotage group in the top leadership of the country and within the ranks of the government that deliberately plot to bring down Somaliland in order to pave the way for another disastrous union with Somalia. The three-year history of Riyale`s devastating administration shows that this group is secretly connected unionists, pro Somalia elements, who determined to stay in power, with outside influence, through rigged or stolen presidential, parliamentary, and local elections until they bring down Somaliland Republic. These unionists, who mastermind this silent political sabotage, include: Dahir Riyale Kahin, president of Somaliland, Ahmed Mohammed Aden (Maybe), president of House of Representatives, Ahmed Ali Adami, Chairman of the National Election Commission, Hussein Ali Duale, Minister of Finance. There is also another reactionary group who are opportunists that put their personal interest before the nation and directly support the unionists`s subversive activities against Somaliland sovereignty. This group include: Ismael Aden Omer, Minister of Interior, Abdullahi Mohammed Duale, minister of information, Mohammed Egeh, Commander of National Police Force, and others. The vice president, Mr. Ahmed Yusuf Yasin is a passive figure in the current administration and is overwhelmed by his own religious meditations in a roomful of smoke and unaware of the dicey situation in the country. It is unknown whether he holds the prayers for Riyale`s Regime or for himself.

The unionists and reactionary elements, who fatten themselves on corruption, false praise and clapping like Said`s Regime, rarely address the deterioration of social, economic, defensive, and political issues in the country and are not interested in seeking solutions because they are behind them. Sometimes, they give short speeches and interviews to attack those who speak out against the appalling national situation in order to divert public attention from realities. If the president Riyale and other members of the ruling clique have any shred or piece of honesty and patriotism in their hearts and are not together in treasonous collusion, the disastrous situation of Somaliland would touch them and would resign to rescue the country and the people.

The political objective of the unionists in Somaliland top leadership is to ruin Somaliland in all aspects in order to encourage Somalia, particularly Puntland Administration, to expand its occupation towards Sanaag and Togdheer in order to deny Somaliland of diplomatic recognition and to show the world that Somaliland can not stand alone without having "Federal Union" with Somalia.

Besides this unfolding, sad situation in the country, there is also a growing concern in the minds of many Somalilanders that some Somaliland government high officials hailing from the Western Regions of the country have Marehan-like mentality of claiming and hijacking the government, that has been already sabotaged politically, from the Eastern Regions. If that is true, then such bitter tribalism infested in Somaliland governance could also threaten not only democracy but the stability and the survivability of Somaliland independent state because any tribal or regional dictatorship leads to political turmoil and civil strife. Both political sabotage and divisive tribalism are what the enemies of Somaliland have been praying for so many years to see failed state in Somaliland that desperately needs to return to the "union" with Somalia unconditionally.

Suffering from unprecedented injustices and atrocities in the hands of Somalia (The ex-South) for the 30 years of the disastrous union (1960-1990), Somalilanders are always expected to avoid two dangerous scenarios that would jeopardize their hard-won state and threaten their lives. These two scenarios are:

a) To elect a president who is not committed to the cause of Somaliland sovereignty and who would embark the nation on a disastrous route of political turmoil and civil strife. Ignoring to elect time-tested leaders with proven integrity, patriotism, nationalism, and allegiance to Somaliland independence will have dire consequences to all and to the country.

b) To establish tribal dictatorship that would plunge the country into bloody civil wars as Late dictator General Said Barre did. The major two goals of any democracy in any society is to prevent dictatorship and promote smooth, uninterrupted progress in a country. If blind tribalism and regionalism prevent a nation from electing the right leader and then brutal dictatorship against the majority prevails, the consequences will be grave and will engulf the whole country and the whole nation one day.

The coming parliamentary election, expected to take place on march 29, 2005, is the only hope left for Somaliland to stand again on its feet and its people to restore their dreams for independent, united, stable, democratic, progressive, and recognized Somaliland Republic. If the election is delayed or the results are changed fraudulently to favor Riyale`s Regime to stay in power or avoid impeachment, then it is high time to put political differences aside and support the opposition leaders to lead NATIONAL UPRISING with massive demonstrations to force president Riyale to resign or topple his Regime of unionists, opportunists, and reactionaries, and replace them with interim government to restore national economy and revive armed forces immediately and pave the way for democratic presidential and parliamentary elections in near future. Somaliland and its people can not afford to remain hostage to Riyale`s regime any longer and it is time to protect Somaliland State from collapse, treacherous federalism, and occupation. It is also the paramount duty of every Somaliland citizen to contain any violence and anarchy during and in the immediate aftermath of the UPRISING to prevent failed state in Somaliland. Riyale and his clique are sternly warned of using brutal excessive force against peaceful demonstrations and legitimate uprisings, and they should know that world is united today, more than ever before, against criminals an d crimes against humanity. Governments, human rights organizations, and Somaliland citizens around the world will hunt down those who commit crimes against Somaliland citizens where ever they flee in this world and will bring them to justice. God bless Somaliland and its heroic people.

Ibrahim Hassan Gagale, Emil: 09 March, 2005

UDUB Party's Squabbling Is Nothing But A Sheer Burlesque Of Democracy.

Ali Hassan - Toronto,Canada

Over the past two weeks and a half, since Riyalle began his tactic of spin, obfuscation, smear campaign and bogus allegations, it has got much worse for our embryonic nation because he has put Somaliland in a state of quandary. Riyalle's cursory attempt in depicting himself as a savoir of our nation, while accusing the members of the House of Parliament for dereliction of their duty was nothing but an attempt by him to portray the UDUB Party in a "good cop/bad cop" fashion on Somaliland's much anticipated parliamentary election. Riyalle has forcefully employed various tactics, including the threat of utilizing presidential decree and other surreptitious parliamentary and judicial maneuvers in order to change the constitution to his own advantage. Nevertheless, by the time the dust was settled, we learnt a valuable lesson from Somaliland's on-going constitutional crises and it is the fact that the Constitution and the "rule of law" have been replaced by the "rule of Riyalle." Simply put, Riyalle made parliament the scapegoat for the whole constitutional dilemma and hence is trying to grab more power at their expenses.

In order to elucidate my point of view regarding Riyalle's political gaffe, I would like to present how systems based upon democratic principles function universally with perhaps some trivial and subtle variations.

To begin with, according to the adherents of liberal democracy no government is actually good enough to rule, that is why democratic societies have perpetual elections in order to scrutinize and either award or punish the actions of their governments. Even while enjoying majority support a government needs to be challenged, and that is why opposition parties are institutionally provided by any democratic system- to ensure government accountability, which is practiced through checks and balances (also known as separation of powers).

In a system that embodies separation of powers, people in the political regime are able to obdurate the work of others in the government if they believe the work to be a violation of rights. Fundamentally, it is an attempt to keep the power evenly divided into different hands, to prevent one cohort from becoming too powerful. Since all three branches, namely executive, legislative, and judicial, have checks on each other, the checks are used as a way of balancing the power. The branch that attempts to raven power is limited by means of the actions of the other branches. Democratic constitutionalism enshrines the ideals of democracy as the basis on which the civil order is run. Any legitimate government in such a system has an obligation to be fully committed to freedom, equality, justice, and the rule of law.

Does Somaliland function under such liberal democratic principles? Well, let us hunt high and low for the right answers. In order to get to the bottom of what is occurring in Somaliland presently we must understand who it is that calls the shots.

First of all, Somaliland is in a rudimentary stage in terms of constitutional democracy. The Senate (Guurti) members and the House of Parliament (Wakiilada) members are not elected legislators and therefore are in their respective positions due to the clan/regional representation. Also, it is suffice to say that the judicial branch is virtually under Riyalle's guidance. The two branches of any legitimate and responsible constitutional democracy have not been established in Somaliland within the framework of the rule of law. They are both based upon traditional and archaic rules and regulations. Second, the third branch, which is the executive, is exclusively run by Riyalle and his thugs (Ismail Faqash, Awil, Qaybe, and Buuni). Third, Riyalle represents the UDUB party which happens to be the party that has nearly three quarters of the members of Somaliland's Parliament. In addition, the speaker of the House of Parliament is the infamous Qaybe who publicly stated that he does not support Somaliland's secession from Somalia. It should be noted also, that the speaker of Senate Chamber, the mercurial Suleiman, is an UDUB member too; in fact he was put there by Riyalle.

Having established that background, let us now discuss the matter at hand. Riyalle had all the aforementioned individuals and institutions at his disposal when he encountered his recent constitutional "crisis" and hence he could and should have used them wisely. But in order to mislead the gullible citizens of Somaliland he chose to vilify members of his own political party and played the proverbial game of them-versus-us. I may just be a cynical person but no one can convince me why and how on earth Riyalle could not reach a consensus with the leaders of the two houses who are from his own political party. Any leader in such a position should have the clout and political capital to avoid such an unnecessary constitutional "crisis." It seems then that either UDUB is obsolete and dead in the water or Riyalle is politically naive. The only other plausible explanation one can come up with is that perhaps Riyalle is both a sinister as well as a cerebral individual who is insidiously working on keeping his presidency by any means necessary. It was indeed a political gamble by Riyalle and he made things worse for Somaliland.

As we speak, Somaliland is watching a tug of war between the sinless Riyalle and the curmudgeon Suleiman as both claims to be the savior of Somaliland. It is fascinating how the two who reciprocated favors in order for one to become the president and the other speaker of the Senate have now turned into sworn enemies. Riyalle is relentlessly strategizing the way to demote Suleiman from his position and replace him with one of his bootlickers while Suleiman is assiduously preparing to impeach Riyalle.

What is also equally fascinating is the adulation and instant admiration received by Suleiman Gal. He is described by many of us as being a true patriot and a straight shooter. Kudos to him, though I dislike to jump onto the band wagon. I have never heard Suleiman criticize the government of his friend Riyalle prior to this contention between the two- there must be a valid reason behind this flip-flop. According to reliable sources, Suleiman was summoned by Riyalle upon Riyalle's return to Somaliland from his South Africa tour. Suleiman was accompanied by nine other Guurti members with Riyalle briefing them on his decision to put forth the bill on Parliamentary elections to the Supreme Court. After Riyalle explained his position in an interval of two minutes he dismissed them, leaving Suleiman humiliated. If this is the case, then Suleiman must have gotten a rather blunt lesson of Riyalle's despotic tendencies. A competent leader would not deal with the leader of the Senate in such an arrogant manner, especially when they are both prominent members of the same party.

As for sinless Riyalle and his incompetent government, I am afraid there is no dearth of examples regarding the way Riyalle and his cronies have trampled every basic constitutional precept protecting this suffering, new nation to pursue its dream. Riyalle's government has no paucity of shortcomings for instances, the pillaging of our scarce resources by Riyalle and his lackeys, constitutional disregard, the occupation of some parts of our territory by Puntland's militia and Djibouti, the way the main opposition party is mistreated, the unemployment and abject poverty, the institutionalized corruption, the prohibition of political dialogue such as Caqli keen, the censorship of the press, the legitimization of government propaganda, and many other economic and political calamites that are beyond any rational individual's comprehension.

The UDUB government has become synonymous with tyranny, repression and kleptocracy. Allow me to tabulate some of Riyalle's political fiascos: 1) His cowardly escape from an ambush in the city of LasAnod,

2) Riyalle then refused the appointment of a parliamentary fact-finding committee to investigate the reasons for the ambush,

3) Both the Parliament and the opposition parties opposed Riyalle's enactment of Marshall law/emergency laws, nevertheless his government still went ahead,

4) He increased the set number of members for the election commission without the opposition parties' consent,

5) In addition, his acceptance of the member for Awdal over Eng. Mohammed Hashi was clearly a case of nepotism, and when KULMIYE re-appointed Eng. Hashi as their candidate for the commission Riyalle effectively avoided dealing with the matter thus delaying the process of a fair and representative election commission which have yet to be realized,

6) Peaceful protests have been suffocated by Riyalle's government (contrary to Riyalle's belief, peaceful demonstrations can be conducted as demonstrated by KULMIYE's party meeting last Saturday in Hargeisa), as well, journalists are harassed ad nauseam,

7) Riyalle has used the entire force and power of the state-owned media to confuse right and wrong, in addition, he finances privately owned websites that are stationed outside of Somaliland but are conscientious to his propaganda machine,

8) Rampant corruption has been institutionalized and legitimized in all segments of the society, in fact the practice of taking and giving bribes is ubiquitous in all domains of Somaliland, Riyalle has even recently started selling Somaliland's unconventional PASSPORT issued from his office for two obvious reasons a) to monitor the mobility of the individuals who do not support his moribund regime b) to moonlight and make extra cash from it,

9) Does anyone remember the ad hoc ministerial war committee that was supposed to be stationed at Burao city right after our national forces had skirmishes with the Faqash militia in the vicinity of Adhi-adeeye? I wonder if they're still there.

10) If city-state Djibouti did not annex some parts of Somaliland's territory, why then are Djibouti custom officials inspecting Somaliland's truck passengers at BARIISLE's dry valley check point?

11) During Egal's administration Somaliland and Ethiopia had a mutual understanding of the importance of a good relationship between our two nations. When Riyalle came into power that relationship deteriorated and Riyalle shifted his focus to Djibouti, and this can account for why Ethiopia now supports Abdullahi Yusuf and the Faqash aggressors. In addition, Ethiopia closed its borders to Somaliland as a consequence of Riyalle's shift of attention, something that have negative economic effects on Somaliland's economy.

12) The perpetrators of the vicious murders of three foreigners in Somaliland have yet to be brought to justice. What happened with the investigations?

13) There are widespread reports of illegal dumping of toxic substances authorized by Riyalle of the coast of our nation and some have even been given licenses to deplete our off-coast resources. Why are our sovereignty at sea neglected and how can Riyalle condone the deterioration of our national resources, nature, and sea-life?

14) The new NNS apparatus established in Somaliland for the purpose of spying and infringing on the freedoms of the innocent people of Somaliland must surely be costly. How much is it Riyalle spends on his pseudo-intelligence service?

15) In the last budget there were promises made on a variety of projects, including a new nation-wide radio station. Why has this radio station yet to be launched?

16) Also, Riyalle and his lackeys use Radio Hargeisa and Mandeeq as their personal mouthpieces, suppressing the views of the people of Somaliland when these radio stations are funded by the tax payers.

17) Why did Riyalle make a Supreme Court shuffle immediately before he put forth his motion on Parliamentary elections, switching Abdi Elmi Hassan to Mahamoud Hersi Farah as the new vice chairman? Does this mean that Riyalle's invisible hand dictates the Supreme Court too?

18) With regard to the land dispute with Puntland there have been confirmations on a deal struck between Riyalle, Abdullahi Yusuf and Adde Muse through Ethiopia and Djibouti as mediators on a referendum for Sool and Sanag Bari. Both the warlord and Adde Muse confirmed through the media that there are further, detailed technical negations going on. Why is Riyalle not coming clean on this side deal?

19) Why is Riyalle not paying our brave armed forces on time? While diverting millions of dollars to his Djibouti, South African, and UAE bank accounts and projects, the brave soldiers of Somaliland are receiving donations from the civilian population- is not that an outrageous and ludicrous situation?

20) For someone who left Hargeisa dressed as a woman when the SNM liberation army came, Ismail Faqash has a lot of audacity threatening Muj. Silanyo, the leader of the opposition and one of the liberators of Somaliland. How can Riyalle and Ismail Faqash continually curtail the freedoms of speech and expression?

Riyalle, the orchestrator of this mess, quite simply seems incapable of conducting his job. Look at the finances of the nation, for instance, Riyalle and his gang is squandering the meager resources of the nation. By looking at Riyalle's latest budget one can easily observe the gross misuse and theft of our nation's tax money. In addition, Riyalle and his gang are trampling over the constitution, showing contempt and utter disregard for the laws of the nation. Lastly, Somaliland is supposedly not a clannish state, but Riyalle's actions tell a different story. His stand on electoral districts and regions serve well to point that out. For the fair distribution of Parliamentary seats among the six existing regions of Somaliland it has been stipulated that it must be within the framework of the 1960 district arrangement. However, Riyalle has the intention of increasing the number of representatives from Awdal arguing that his clan has grown. Sadly, Riyalle does not seem to comprehend the fact that without a census he is no position to make such claims and demands. As the case is in the US, for instance, where they have a census every ten years, districts are reconfigured on the basis of population growth and decline. The rational behind this move then seems to lie in that Riyalle wants Awdal to get more seats than their fair share. Why is Riyalle so engrossed with clanism, effectively pushing Somaliland into a similar situation to that which led us to secede from the Republic of Somalia in 1991? We must move away from this primordial way of thinking and acting and we need leaders that are national in scope to run and further our fragile democracy. Note, when contentious issues are put before Parliamentarians Riyalle tends to employ Awdal members to fight for his cause, something they seem to do blindly. Isn't that the embodiment of clanism?

Unless the politics of constitutional manipulation is abandoned it will bring about a colossal political and social disaster in our fragile, embryonic nation. While our enemies, backed up by Ethiopia, are arming and preparing for a showdown with Somaliland, Riyalle is entranced with consolidating control of power and money for himself and his thugs. If Riyalle and his thugs genuinely believe and care for Somaliland they must end this farce of a conflict immediately and respect fundamental human rights. Riyalle is not above the law and unless he wants to end up like Afweine, he should start acting within the framework of our nation's laws, and respect the citizens of our great nation. Remember, Riyalle, even though Afweine was clannish, when Afweine needed his clansmen the most, they were not there for him. In sum, I see the constitutional crisis in Somaliland have turned into a family feud within the UDUB party taking away attention from the threat to Somaliland and the real debate over Riyalle and UDUB's constant manipulation of the constitution for their own advantage. We know Riyalle's government is destined for the necropolis, we must thus ensure that our nation does not go with it. We must be vigilant because we've lost more than a 100,000 innocent brothers and sisters for our cause!

May God Bless my noble people,

Ali Hassan (kubad) - 09 March, 2005

Maandeeq And Her Suitors

Said Omar Moussa - Livermore - California

We live in an interesting time. Unlike our recent past, when our destiny was shaped largely by the dictate of others, having forcefully regained our forfeited sovereignty, and having ironically failed as of yet to win the international recognition we so desperately crave, today we are, save Allah, the masters of our future. However, though such a status is positive theoretically, it is not usually the case in the world we live in. Especially under the existing reality of being lead by a miss-educated elite that is alienated from its true self, and is unfortunately dependent on the alms of external benefactors to survive. That is why for the said elite, the attainment of international recognition and the alms that comes with it is a goal in itself. Needless the to say, this delinquency is sadly true for most of our brethrens in this wretched continent of ours. And to be fair is a malignant mind-set that is inherited from colonialism.

A crude analogy for this condition, this mind-set the colonized nations developed because of colonialism were that of a domesticated wild animal that significantly lost the instinct to survive on its own due to being fed instead of hunting. So in that sense, a society deprived of owning its destiny is like a domesticated wild animal and both are in an unnatural state of being. This corruption of one's true self is a source of many social disorders that plague our continent. And although we regained our sovereignty little has changed since. We are still estranged from our natural instinct and seem unable to shake off this ethos of dependency.

We must understand, it is this culture of dependency and lack of initiative by our elite, that finds refuge in the alms the status of being internationally recognition entity brings. And like a vicious circle this alms props up this entity that attracts and makes the wrong people of the society into its elite. There goes this vicious circle of the help producing the need that must be stopped. Having said that let me qualify the above statement. I don't have the slightest illusion, nor am I suggesting just by being unrecognized would somehow unshackle us from this bondage. That is absolutely nonsense. I am also willing to concede there could be a better way of overcoming our dependency without bringing unnecessary hardship on people who could least afford. But now since there is no gravy train to speak of "international recognition". Let us reflect on what exactly are we missing? And it is in this sense, in this unique circumstance of being sovereign albeit unrecognized that, I believe makes this era of ours very interesting to say the least. And the questions that need to be answer are.

Are we ready for this enormous challenge? Can we overcome our recent history and redeem ourselves now that we have a second chance?

If preliminary signs are any indication of what to expect, then the answer to those questions will be yes and the future is very encouraging. Let us not forget though, we are undertaking this immense socio-political transformation under the highly demanding political system of democracy. A system, though suitable and relatively more stable in the long run, is nonetheless by its inherent tenants of transparency and accountability, exposes the collective shortcomings of a society in such unflattering way. It requires courage and endurance to withstand the truth it reflects.

And so far, I can't over stress the tangible social-political gains we attained in a very short time. Just to name a few, a new breed of elite that is shedding off the dependency mindset and leading the society to a culture of self-reliance by example. A fairly transparent and free elections that showed the waning effect of tribalism, a maturing civil society that is aware of its role and is contributing accordingly, a feisty press that has already produced some martyrs. But surely everything is not rosy. The menace the rise in chat consumption has on the society is truly frightening. And no solution seems to be in sight. The declining vigor and waning influence our traditional culture has in shaping, preserving and expressing our unique reality is a lamentable situation if not reversed. The obvious lack of and the glaring need for a better leadership. Plus the sad state Radio Hargeysa is in. A once proud, pioneering institution, a citadel for Somali culture that greatly contributed to our enlightenment is now reduced to mere mouthpiece. More importantly though, all the achievements noted above are frail and can easily be rolled back. Therefore vigilance is a virtue. There is already a tale-tale sign of significant and deliberate encroachment intend to curb some of the political achievements by the government under the pretext of safeguarding the peace. Knowing very well a vulnerable society will cede its right away if it is blackmailed.

Now that I vaguely framed the portrait of Maandeeq, let me introduce some of the protagonists that are/will more likely leave an indelible impression on Maandeeq and her unfolding voyage. First let us look at the President of the Republic Mr. Riyaale. When examined from his public record and from various anecdotal information. The President comes across as a nice, genuinely humble, personable and rarely a confrontational man. He also has the ability to ingratiate himself with the people by being or appearing to be grateful and cherishing any honor bestowed on him. Thus, because of those qualities, during his brief tenure so far he managed to cultivate a fairly strong affinity with the people. An achievement, that seems to have eluded many supposedly better able and/or more deserving peers of his.

On the other hand, rarely does one get the feeling that he understands, let alone appreciates the magnitude of the responsibility of his position. Especially at this critical phase of transitioning from a collection of clans, into a nascent nation that needs a sound foundation. Where other men would be burden by such a heavy responsibility he seem oblivious and quite content with daydreaming.

It is also glaringly obvious he isn't good at articulating his vision. That is if he has one. Because one can't help but see how the affair of the nation is being run rather haphazardly. Even the few achievements made are never followed up on. Save one central theme. And this theme is a focused obsession in discrediting and threatening KULMIYE the main opposition party. This undue attention bad as it is, would have been understandable though not acceptable if it was only during electioneering. But it is not. It is the only consistent policy this administration has. Unfortunately, what the president failed to understand is, he has already been elected and given a five-year mandate. And no opposition party or any other entity can and has the right to nullify his tenure unless he commits an impeachable offence. Thus, his concern should be to govern and do so well, instead of worrying and fighting off an imagined bogeyman that is going to unseat him illegitimately. Unless of course, this bogeyman masquerading as the leadership of the KULMIYE party or any body who criticize him, is non other than his own conscious imploring him about his incompetence. And if that is the case, excuse my language we sure are in a deep shit.

And having said that, unlike some of his detractors I don't question or doubt his loyalty nor do I believe he has an ill design toward Maadeeq. Nonetheless, gross incompetence is sometimes worst than treachery. I am also hoping for Mr. Rayaale proof me wrong.

Next comes the leader of KULMIYE the main opposition party Mr. Siilaanyo. Though he is a well-respected and admired elder statesman, I don't get the impression he quite garners the kind of affection he duly deserve. He is a competent and a charismatic leader who immensely contributed and sacrificed to the cause that borne the fruit we enjoy today.

However, after the nail biting presidential election he lost. For the most part, he seem to be wrong footed and on the defensive and merely reacting to event. His state if one is generous. Is akin to a caring and concern but aloof parent who can't decide how to deal with a delinquent child. Should he be stern and challenge the child or be patient and hope for the best. For the sake of the country his indecisiveness must end. He must challenge the administration to respect the rule of the land. He must come up with a coherent vision for the country. I know he is not the President and cannot implement his vision but the very least the people would have an alternative. It is not enough to just decry the failing of others. He must also challenge his party and supporters. Their injudicious use of this loaded derogatory term "Faqaash" against their political rival. Coupled with their constant remainder of being the sole heir of the SNM liberation movement. Gives the impression and rightly so I might add, of being a divisive and opportunistic party. More over, this sense of entitlement, born from the false believe, of being the sole heir's of the SNM legacy, bodes ill and can breed intolerance and must be challenged and nipped at bud.

The SNM liberation movement merits our gratitude and should be held in high esteem. It deserves the admiration because of what it stood for. Saving its people from annihilation and restoring only, their full rights and not more and definitely not domination as history is witness to that. And also for what it accomplished during and after the struggle. Unlike many liberation movements that morphed into the same entity they struggled against, the SNM after accomplishing its liberation mission. Moved forward and set up the foundation for the nation we have today. And did this with the pillars of reconciliation, forgiveness and the rule of law. Then withdrew from the political arena voluntarily, an achievement rarely seen anywhere. The SNM also was the aspiration of one clan only and was never an inclusive vehicle. Hence, let us celebrate its ideals more so than the participants in the struggle because there were people who shared those ideals but weren't able to belong. While there were some who belonged to movement but never embraced those ideals.

Last but not least, the leader of UCID the junior opposition party Mr. Faisal Ali waraabe. He was a relatively marginal political figure prior to the elections. And did skyrocketed to prominence largely because of two reasons? Being the leader of one of the only three political parties that survived and became national. And also because of the gutsy and commendable stand he took in diffusing the disputed presidential election.

As a new comer with less baggage he have a golden opportunity to become a trailblazer. Needless to say, for a reason unbeknown to me, he seems to be squandering his capital by the numerous ill-advised stands he took. His inconsistent stand "flip-flapping" coupled with his unhealthy close relationship to the administration is a bad omen. There are many instances that can be sighted here, were he became the administration hatchet man. Look at his recent scathing rebuke of Mr. Saleban Gaal the Senate Leader regarding the parliamentary election law. In that tirade he never mentioned the fact, if it wasn't for the ineptitude and/or complicity of the government. If it weren't for the failure of the government in discharging its duty, we wouldn't have this crisis. And the sooner he understands and stops backing up the government in all its derelictions. The sooner his, as well as the country's fortune would be better.

I say this, against our political leaders not in jest or malice but as a considered observation so they can rectify their faults.

Finally, if there is a disconnect between the leadership deficits sighted and the relatively healthy state of Maandeeq, it is due to the sheer industry, ingenuity and patience of the people in doing more with less. Further more if you sense and I hope you do a thread of optimism running through this article. It is because I firmly believe most of our vexing setbacks are the inevitable byproduct of our struggle toward maturity.

One thing is also certain we are on the right track. But the road to success is long and bitter. There will be setbacks and we will stumble. Some of the failures will be because of bad leadership. Others will be due to societal shortcomings. Those growing pain will test our resolve. Our progress will/might be slow but there is no other alternative. Till not, my countrymen the green meadow of heaven but the dusty bowl of Hawd. There, await your calling and glory will belong to those who heed.

From March-07-2005.


By: Faisal M. Aideed, Dhahran, SA

Brothers and sisters, the happiness of every country depends upon the character of its people, rather than the form of its government. Speaking about character they say, "every man /woman has three characters - that which he exhibits, that which he has, and that which he thinks he has. " A man never discloses his own character so clearly as when he describes another's too. Therefore, let us make sure that those whom we elect for positions have the right calibers, loyalty, knowledge, experience and honesty required of them for the tasks they are assigned to carry out in the name of Somaliland.

Brother and sisters, Change means movement, movement means friction, friction means heat, and heat means controversy. The only place where there is no friction is in the Heaven. Therefore, what matters today for us Somali Landers is not the difference between those who have foreign passports and those who have not, but Unlike the vice president's fantastic speech last month, it is the difference between those who believe in democracy and those who do not believe, for those who care for Somaliland and Somali Landers in general and those who don't give huts, for those who fought for the independence of Somaliland and for those who fought against Somaliland, for those who devote their time for the service of their people and for those who devote their time for hampering of this country, for those who felt guilty of their wrong doings against Somaliland and for those who felt proud and confident of what they offered for their country.

Brother and sister, our country is being slowly destroyed by too many pretentious, dishonest, narrow-mindedness, wrong calibres, corrupted and obsession with power. Hence let us unite and have tolerance, the positive and cordial effort to understand and differentiate between the true Somali landers and pretenders and impostors. Let us appreciate, recognize, reward and support SNM veterans whom by their blood, sacrifice and well-done job we are all back to here ( Somaliland ) today and whitened our shirts. Let us fight tyrants, dictators and traitors whom by their wrong doings we lost thousands of lives to leave democratic legacies behind for future generation. Let us not let the country reach a point of no return. Let the power be for the people.

Brothers and sisters, everything there is a season and a time to every purpose: a time to mourn and a time to renew, a time to reflect and a time to move forward. For us Somali landers, now and more than ever before, this is a time to train our minds to desire what our country's situation desperately demands from all of us, because we have travelled too far to seek peace, justice and democracy in our country travelled too many miles together in search of freedom. Together, we have climbed too high mountains of hope and failures at times. Hence for us now to lose sight of our destination and blindly follow with those pretenders and their hidden agenda will be a disaster that will haunt us for the rest of our lives. Winston Churchill once said, "The nation had the lion's heart. I had the luck to give the roar. " The opposition political leaders in Somaliland had the lack to be in country at a testing time like this and are giving the roar under difficult circumstances as we all know. Let us work as a team than as individuals in everything we do and help them get rid of pretenders, power hungry and money-minded individuals.

It is time to establish principles that unite not divide. Last but not least, remember that, " Somaliland 's problem will not change until we do". "And the biggest obstacle of winning this battle is not only the poor leadership of Riyaleh and his cabinet but also it is the weaknesses and divisions of our opposition political parties, and the absence of the people's power in the country and elsewhere". Finally, I expect more work from opposition parties and say good luck to all of them and Somali landers in action in every where.

Faisal M. Aideed Dhahran, SA

Source: March-08-2005.

Support for the Rayaale Administration is Crumbling

By Mukhtar Mohamed Abby, Hargeisa (HAN)

Following the death of the late president of Somaliland republic Mr.Mohamed Haji Ibrahim Egal (May Allah bless his soul) - Mr Dahir Rayale Kahin the incumbent president who had been his vice president at the time had been sworn in as a care taker president to serve the remainder of the late president's term Mr. Egal.

In his first nationwide address Mr. Kahin told the people of Somaliland that he is committed to holding the first presidential and municipal elections of their kind since 1969. Mr. Kaahin pledged unequivocally that he would promote the judiciary system across the country. On the eve and during the election campaign president Kahin has always been reaffirmed his commitments to wiping out the widespread corruption which is the main stumbling block to our incipient country- diminishing the pandemic unemployment was also in his agenda - he also disclosed in his first speech to the public that he will be extending the Somaliland Administration to the eastern regions of the country. His speech exactly engendered confidence, and attracted the public attention, and the people of Somaliland received with cautious optimism.

By fulfilling his early promises, president Kahin paid long awaited visit to Las'Anod, the provincial capital of Sool. As he arrived there he and his delegation had been greeted with a hail of bullets, but luckily, the president and his entourage escaped the assassination that was plotted by anti Somaliland elements in the region. Following his return to Hargeisa, the Somaliland capital, he disclosed in a speech to the public that he imposed a state of emergency on the renegade province in the east of the country. President Kaahin's visit was regarded as a major step taken forward.

Implementing his principal commitment the president pressed ahead his decision to hold a free and fair election in the country and went for presidential elections, while he was not sure what would be the outcome. This move was described as a brave political decision.

Immediately after his election he went neighbouring Djibouti which was and is the Somaliland's main enemy since the rebirth of Somaliland republic. Dating back the late president Egal's era - Djibouti invited president Egal to deliver a political speech on the Somaliland issue at the IGAD summit that was taking place in the city of Djibouti unfortunately, Mr. Egal didn't deliver his speech at the summit because the Djibouti authority failed to do so.

Flock of Somaliland ministers recently visited the neighbouring foe- Djibouti. This followed an invitation which they received by president Gelle of Djibouti. President Guelle's attempt to foster warmer relationship with Somaliland is due to the ruling party's general fear that the Somalilander's in Djibouti will be tempted to vote for the opposition party who unequivocally declared if they win they would no longer hesitate or delay the recognition of Somaliland - knowing that the vast majority of the social and economic elite of Djibouti are Somalilanders. If the Anfar opposition party and the Somalilander's there unite to vote for the opposition party this would precipitate the collapse of the incumbent Djibouti government something we believe is the interest of our country.

President Gelle of Djibouti openly and deliberately shows his contempt and hatred for Somalilander's and their nation frequently acting behind the scene in so called peace conference, which has nothing to do with Somaliland. Let us also never forget the genocide perpetuated by the Djibouti government were they deported innocent unarmed civilians (Men, Women and Children) across the border only to be slaughtered by the Barre regime.

Djibouti has also tried on many occasions to destabilize the economy of Somaliland foolishly believing that Somaliland livestock export could be channeled via Djibouti port.

Somaliland's relationship with Ethiopia is much better than the relation we have with Djibouti in Many Respects, because Ethiopia amicably hosted tens and thousands of Somaliland refugees during the civil wars in the northern regions of Somalia currently Somaliland.

One could safely argue that this is the moment that the traditional animosity between Somalis and Ethiopians were buried. It is undeniable that Ethiopia is the super power in the horn of Africa and in this regard, we Somalilanders have to strengthen the diplomatic relations with neighboring Ethiopia and abandon the relation with Djibouti - this one city-state.

Mr. Kahin diverted the political direction of Somaliland which the late president Mr.Egal set up. Mr.Egal established the warmer relations between Somaliland and Ethiopia which we are currently enjoying. President Egal was chummy with Ethiopia and visited each other. But present day bilateral relations between Somaliland and Ethiopia are not as good as it was before - it is obvious that the incumbent president of Somaliland is the cause of the deterioration relations between the said countries.

During his visit in the U.K President Kahin affirmed to the Somaliland Diaspora that he would build a smaller cabinet, but on his return to the country he failed to live up to the expectations of Somalilanders living in and outside of the country.

The people began to express their dissatisfaction with the president's spider web cabinet not because they are large in size but because they are unqualified and unprofessional.

In today's Somaliland Maputo's culture is thriving. President Kahin is alleged to have multiple properties in Djibouti and his hometown, Borama, the provincial capital of Awdal. One after hears at the Khayria of Hargiesa, loud complaints about riches and fortune that he has so quickly amassed.

All these in the mist of the growing and devastating poverty in Somaliland are a sign of a run- away corrupt government.

When the current president took office the security across the country began to degenerate following the killings of foreign aidworkers in the country. Worst of all, the most recent tragic incident in which the Kenyan aidworker was liquidated as well as the German aidworker of GTZ was wounded had taken place in broad day light between Hargeisa and Berbera, fortunately, those behind the terrorist killings were caught however, the perpetrators were not brought to justice, and are languishing in the jails

After many years of neglect from the former dictator's regime, and years of devastating wars, Somaliland has yet to see any developmental plans from Kahin's administration. The corruption is still prevalent in the government institutions, senseless killings caused by land dispute take place day in. day out. The political tension between Somaliland and the Somalia regional government of Puntland is still unresolved.

All these shows that the support for the Rayaale Administration is crumbling, and also losing respect of his population.

Mukhtar Mohamed Abby Hargeisa, Somaliland

Source: 07 March, 2005

The Journey Into The Fund Raising Quest For Burao University

Adam Omar - Idiga - UAE

Dr. Saad Ali Shire held a series of meetings with communities of Somalilanders in the Diaspora. Discussions were mainly focused on education in Somaliland in general and the role these communities may play in this regard. The discussions were concluded with a unanimous agreement on the urgent need for a full-fledged campaign to develop all levels and types of education in Somaliland. Aware of the significance of education and its vital role in comprehensive development, the Somaliland communities in the Diaspora received this conclusion with great satisfaction. It was seen as a good sign of a sense of commitment on the part of these communities towards their home country and their people. Dr. Saad quoted one of the attendees who said, " If you think education is expensive, try ignorance" and added that ignorance indeed cost nations much more.

Dr. Saad recalled the joy and the profound sense of pride, which prevailed amongst the Somaliland communities in the Diaspora when the first university in Somaliland opened in Borama in 1999. He thanked all contributors to the establishment of this great institution, which paved the way for the establishment of the second university in Somaliland. Hargeisa University opened in 2002 and then Burao University in 2004. The year 2004 also witnessed the inauguration of the marine college in Berbera, the first of its type in the region.

He was amazed by the enthusiasm and organization of the Somalilanders abroad.Dr. Saad expressed optimism about the future. He was also encouraged by what he has seen during his recent visit to Somaliland and was keen to commend the efforts of those taking care of education at all stages, confirming that an all out revolution against ignorance and poverty is already underway and urged all to join the fight. He also Added, " I have learned from the men and the women of Burao that anything is achievable."

Dr. Mohamed Yusuf also stated that, "education is a power that gives people the vision and the capability for defining and solving problems. It creates the effective tools needed for eradicating ignorance, poverty, and unemployment."

"We need an education policy based on quality and the priority of our needs. Our educational institutions have to work cooperatively to avoid overlapping and wasting their limited resources." Dr. M. Yusuf said.

Ms. Rhoda Rageh stressed the need for establishing professional organizations that can channel individual efforts into collaborative professional associations, not only for education, but also for all other domains. She emphasized the fact that the Somalilanders are not lacking qualified specialists in most areas of specialization, but rather lacks coherence and focus. She urged Somaliland intellectuals to take initiative and look beyond tribalism, demagogy and anarchy.

Mrs. Rhoda also highlighted the urgent need to address and find meaningful solutions to certain key issues such as: a) Public health, b) Maternity health, citing the fact that rate of death among pregnant women is alarmingly high. c) Homes for people with special needs, most of whom are victims of civil war, the previous regime genocide, poverty and ignorance, reminding attendees of their religious and moral commitment to lend a hand. d) Mental Health Institutions and veteran's homes for all, as well as sustained support for the orphans and widows of those who died for the country.

Mrs. Rhoda also confirmed that a great number of conscious citizens have given and are still giving so much to our home country like the unknown soldiers who have been maimed defending our rights and who are yet to be recognized, or those who is working quietly and trying to help the people back home. She suggested as a gesture of gratitude and in order to encourage others to emulate these citizens, `the Somaliland people should know that we have urgent need for role models and there's not better way than to acknowledge publicly the generosity of our people.'

Finally, the moral crust of the argument in this story is that, together, we can reach great heights, if we pool our individual resources, intellect, skills and talents. In so doing, we can also achieve the impossible in our quest to nation-build. For example, today, we are building the physical structures for high schools, community colleges and universities in Somaliland with the vision and the understanding that tomorrow will be a better day for the people of our country. This new approach to social development in our country--a people-centered development--will certainly have a profound effect, in the future, on our economic growth and social well being, as we trek along into the 21st century. In fact, it will have a measuring effect on our society, as a whole, which will then lead us into a prosperous future. Indeed, it is the only way in which we can mould the younger generation of Somalilanders into productive citizens. Adam Omar - Idiga

Somaliland Education Task Force,

Source: 06 March, 2005

Happiness Of Every Country Depends Upon Its People.

Faisal M. Aideed - Dhahran, SA

Brothers and sisters, the happiness of every country depends upon the character of its people, rather than the form of its government. Speaking about character they say, "every man /woman has three characters - that which he exhibits, that which he has, and that which he thinks he has. " A man never discloses his own character so clearly as when he describes another's too. Therefore, let us make sure that those whom we elect for positions have the right calibers, loyalty, knowledge, experience and honesty required of them for the tasks they are assigned to carry out in the name of Somaliland.

Brother and sisters, Change means movement, movement means friction, friction means heat, and heat means controversy. The only place where there is no friction is in the Heaven. Therefore, what matters today for us Somali Landers is not the difference between those who have foreign passports and those who have not, but Unlike the vice president's fantastic speech last month, it is the difference between those who believe in democracy and those who do not believe, for those who care for Somaliland and Somali Landers in general and those who don't give huts, for those who fought for the independence of Somaliland and for those who fought against Somaliland, for those who devote their time for the service of their people and for those who devote their time for hampering of this country, for those who felt guilty of their wrong doings against Somaliland and for those who felt proud and confident of what they offered for their country.

Brother and sister, our country is being slowly destroyed by too many pretentious, dishonest, narrow-mindedness, wrong calibres, corrupted and obsession with power. Hence let us unite and have tolerance, the positive and cordial effort to understand and differentiate between the true Somali landers and pretenders and impostors. Let us appreciate, recognize, reward and support SNM veterans whom by their blood, sacrifice and well-done job we are all back to here ( Somaliland ) today and whitened our shirts. Let us fight tyrants, dictators and traitors whom by their wrong doings we lost thousands of lives to leave democratic legacies behind for future generation. Let us not let the country reach a point of no return. Let the power be for the people.

Brothers and sisters, everything there is a season and a time to every purpose: a time to mourn and a time to renew, a time to reflect and a time to move forward. For us Somali landers, now and more than ever before, this is a time to train our minds to desire what our country's situation desperately demands from all of us, because we have travelled too far to seek peace, justice and democracy in our country travelled too many miles together in search of freedom. Together, we have climbed too high mountains of hope and failures at times. Hence for us now to lose sight of our destination and blindly follow with those pretenders and their hidden agenda will be a disaster that will haunt us for the rest of our lives. Winston Churchill once said, "The nation had the lion's heart. I had the luck to give the roar. " The opposition political leaders in Somaliland had the lack to be in country at a testing time like this and are giving the roar under difficult circumstances as we all know. Let us work as a team than as individuals in everything we do and help them get rid of pretenders, power hungry and money-minded individuals.

It is time to establish principles that unite not divide. Last but not least, remember that, " Somaliland 's problem will not change until we do". "And the biggest obstacle of winning this battle is not only the poor leadership of Riyaleh and his cabinet but also it is the weaknesses and divisions of our opposition political parties, and the absence of the people's power in the country and elsewhere". Finally, I expect more work from opposition parties and say good luck to all of them and Somali landers in action in every where.

Thanks to all readers.

Faisal M. Aideed Dhahran, SA

Source: 04 March, 2005

KULMIYE Statement For The EU Delegation

Somaliland.Org - Hargeisa, Somaliland

"Democracy is a bad system, but everything else is worse." Sir Winston Churchill.

It is our greatest pleasure to welcome you to Somaliland and to let you know how much we appreciate your timely visit. On behalf of the people of Somaliland we thank you for taking this arduous trip to help and assist us at this critical juncture in our history.

We understand that your visit is mainly, but not solely, concerned with the impending parliamentary election scheduled for later this month. The importance of this election for the development and enhancement of democracy in this country cannot be overstated. It is no exaggeration to say that were this election fail to take place, or even delayed inordinately, the nascent democracy which we are all trying to nurture maybe irretrievably damaged to the determent of not only Somaliland but for the region as a whole.

An elected representative legislature is an integral element in a democratic system. It provides the necessary checks and balances against a powerful executive, while at the same creating a meaningful, and hopefully constructive role, for opposition parties. The electorate in Somaliland are mature enough to realise this, and are therefore clamouring for this election to take place as scheduled. Hostility to anyone or anybody remotely suspected of obstructing the election is indeed palpable, and failure to hold the election would have very serious consequences for the peace and stability of the country.

The electoral law recently passed by the parliament proved controversial in that it contained several clauses that have been identified as obstacles for the election to take place at the scheduled time. Many people believe it to be a clumsy attempt by the current members of parliament to extend their already extended tenure. However, the said clauses were ruled unconstitutional, on the 26th of February, by the Somaliland Supreme Court, and are therefore null and void.

The Court, as usual, provided no written explanation or reasoning for its ruling, and KULMIYE is not convinced that the said clauses are in anyway unconstitutional. To our knowledge there are no clauses in the constitution which either explicitly or implicitly prohibit electoral registration or the need for a national-wide election; indeed it would be a strange constitution if it were to do so. Moreover the provisions stipulated in the clauses would have been feasible but for the negligence and obstructionism of the government who singularly failed to take in the past the requisite action as urged by other political parties on numerous occasions. Our efforts were often dismissed as unwarranted interference and a vain attempt to gain influence denied to us by the recent election.

However we share the general perception that the clauses in the electoral law to which the Court ruling is referring to are obstacle to a timely election. Thus our stated preference for rendering them inapplicable to this particular election.

In spite of the ruling from the Court, or maybe because of it, a most crucial element in the election process is yet to be decided: the fair distribution of parliamentary seats among the six regions of Somaliland. This indeed has been a contentious issue that has a bearing and consequences for the regional, and to a lesser extent, clan makeup of Somaliland. Workable consensus on this issue proved difficult and illusive. However the three national parties - after a difficult set of negations lasting several days - signed a comprise agreement to settle this knotty problem once and for all. The agreement also contains a set of principles and practical steps that would ensure free and fair elections at the scheduled time.

KULMIYE believes that this agreement forms the only basis through which a fair and free election can take place on time. Frankly, there is no other conceivable alternative! However unofficial reports emanating from government circles indicate that the president has dismissed the agreement out of hand, and that he is in the process of unilaterally devising another system soon to be imposed on the other parties.

The president should know - and if he doesn't he must be told -that he has no legal or constitutional right to enact important aspects of an electoral system which he, as the chairman of UDUP, is more than an interested party. A unilateral decision on his part is unacceptable to other stakeholders and we shall fight it accordingly. Democracy and democratic system of governance in Somaliland is not only recent but also fragile. After years of unfettered dictatorial rule many in our society including the governing party find it inconvenient, if not inimical to their interests. We are gravely concerned that the government violates the constitution on regular basis; often abuses its power and authority; misuses national resources for partisan purposes; and treats other parties as the enemy within. Other equally important institutions such as the legislature, the media, the Electoral Commission and the Courts are ignored, bribed, manipulated or coerced into submission.

We therefore ask you to use your good offices, wisdom and experience to urge the government and, in particular the president, to respect, uphold and safeguard the internationally recognised and appreciated democratic norms and practices. He should realise that the less than favourable circumstances in which the country finds itself calls for statesmanship rather than partisan attempt to gain personal or regional advantage. This way, and this way only, would democracy prosper for the benefit of all, not least the government.

Finally, KULMIYE believes that the parliamentary election is overdue, and that the nation expects a speedy resolution of any outstanding problems. Similarly, friends of Somaliland in the international community are in eager anticipation. The three political parties are in agreement and rearing to go. We therefore urge the president to play a constructive role and do all that is within his power to facilitate a free and fair election held on time.

Source: March 7 2005

History of Education in Awdal

The world will belong to those who do the right things today" Al-Haji Malik Shabazz(Malcolm X).

"The road to education is long and bitter, but for those who take the time to do it, the fruits are sweet" Nelson Madella.

History of Education in "Awdal" (Adel), and Somaliland

Pre-colonial education:

Ibna-Batuta and many other ancient travelers to the land of "Adel empire" from the eleven century until the advent of the European colonization in the 19th century, have very interesting stories regarding the area between Adari (Harrar) and Zayla (Awdal). Through out the last millennium, The area attracted the attention of the Greeks, Ottoman Turks, Berbers, Arabs and Europeans. Cosmopolitan Zayla (Awdal) and "Adari" were once the centers of trade, education, culture, Folklore, religion and music. Students from those cities were used to be sent to Al-Azhar University in Egypt. From anecdotal stories passed from generation to generation, as recently as the early to the middle part of the twenty century, students and scholars of religion used to go to Harrar for scholarship and religious studies. It is also a fact that, religious scholars located in the twin cities of "Zayla" and "Harrar", were spreading Islam thorough the Horn of Africa for over a thousand years. Zayla was also the door through which Islam entered the Horn of Africa.

"Masaalik-Al-Absaar", a book written by an Egyptian author, called "Zayla" the city of lights, which has many mosques and schools, where all kinds of subjects were taught. He described "Zayla" as a place where one can acquire any kind of knowledge that may be taught in that period of time. The book indicated the people of "Zayla" were 100% Muslim, who gather in large numbers in the Mosques of the city. Those Mosques could be compared to the public libraries that can be found in big cities of our modern times. Sometimes people in other parts of the Muslim world used to call Zayla "Diraa-Sal-Al-Islaam.

Another great pillar of the precolonial education was Sheik Aw Barkhadleh, the architect of the "Alif-La-Kor-Dhabay-Alif-La-Hos-Dabay-Alif-laa-Goday" style of phonetics. Sheik Aw Barkhadleh completely revolutionized the way Arab phonetics is thought. His translation of Arabic phonetics into Somali phonetics simplified the learning of the holy Koran, Islamic religion and Arabic language. His radical efforts helped spread Islam in the Horn of Africa.

One time, Harrar was the 4th most holiest Muslim city in the Islamic world, just after Mecca Al-Muka-Rama, Al-Madiina-Ta-Almun-Awara, and Al-Qudas Al-Sharif (Jerusalem). People used to flock from all over the Horn of Africa and beyond to those cities for scholarship, enlightenment, spiritual and religious enrichment. The twin cities of "Zayla" and "Harrar" have a huge impact on " modern Awdal" in particular and Somaliland in general, in terms of education, culture, civic-mindedness, cuisine and religion. Awdal's pioneering spirit and its relative edge in education despite 40 years of neglect, is not something out of the blue and new, or started by one individual or a group of individuals. Awdal education has a very long history, spanning for nearly one thousand years.

It is worth mentioning though, that there were some educational movements, that rekindled or sparked if you will, from time to time; the ancient spirit of innovation, adventurism, love for education and enlightenment inherent in the area for a very long time. One of those movements originally started in French Somaliland in the thirties, and overtime spilled into "Awdal" and Somaliland.

One of the pioneers of the "1930's" educational movement in Somaliland was Sheik Abdirahman Sheik Nuur, who started the first elementary school in Borama in "1932" . Sheik Abdirahman Sheik Nuur who I have cited many times in my writings, was the author of a well written book, published in "1992" by the name of "Il-Bah-Nimadii-Adel-Iyo-Sooyaalkii-Soomaa-lida". In 1959, the first elementary school in Tug-Wajaale was started with the initiative of Sheik Omar Sheik Musa Liban. Liban started the school by the traditional Awdalian style of fund raising, in which he collected about 30 oxen from the area.

Another movement was started in Somaliland in the mid fifties by the "Samaroon Civil Servants Association" (SCSA). These were mostly junior and senior British colonial government officials. They founded "SCSA" an Educational Association or a Trust Fund if you will, whose main objective was to help poor students pay their school fee. Honorable Adan Isaa Ahmed was one of the preeminent founders of that Association. Over the years "SCSA" has helped numerous students accomplish their dreams of education.

Colonial and post-colonial education:

Mr. Mahmoud Ahmed Ali, Mr.Yusuf Haji Aden, Aden Isaak Ahmed, Haji Jama Muhumed, Yusuf Ismail Samater (Gandhi), Yusuf Adan Bokah and others were instrumental in both the limited colonial and the post colonial education in Somaliland. During colonial times, the whole country has two secondary schools, one technical institute, one Teachers Training Center (T.T.C.), and one Clerical Training Center (C.T.C). These two latter institutions were originally combined into one institution based in Amoud in the forties, by the name of Vocational Training Center (V.T.C.)

In the 1930's in French Somaliland itself, great leaders like Jama Zaylici, Ahmed Sahal, Jibril Jilane and others started an educational movement. These prominent men in the mid-thirties started a short lived University in Djibouti. But their movement left a huge impact on Awdal.

You can not talk about education in Somaliland, and ignore the role of Haji Jama Muhumed, Hagi Dahir Aw Elmi, Rableh Goud, Haji Olhaye, Haji Ibrahim Nuur, Ali Warsame Biriko, Honorable Adan Isaak Ahmed, Sheik Abdirahman Sheik Ibrahim Brawi, Sheik Fadumo , Sheik Hassan Nuriye, Shiek Abdirahman Sh. Nuur and others. Haji Jama Muhumed a local legend laid the first stone for the foundation of Amoud Secondary School, along with a British colonial officer Mr. C.R.V.Bell in "1952". In the post colonial era, Somaliland schools have been undergone a tremendous exponential growth.

Most of the progress made by Somaliland schools during those infamous years was community based. By "199"1, when the military dictatorship was toppled, there was at least one high school in every region of the country. Hargeisa has three secondary schools and one technical institute, Borama has three secondary schools including an agricultural secondary school, Burao has one secondary school, and one technical institute. Each of the following towns ( Gabiley, Zayla, Airegavo, Las-Annod, and Qulijeed) has one secondary school.

A profile of a preeminent religious scholar who played a major role in Awdal education: (Sheik Omar Goth)

Sheik Omar Goth was born in the Guban area of region in "1918". He accomplished his early education in Harrar, Zayla, Sudan, and Yemen. In the mid-fifties, he has successfully completed his long scholarship in the prestigious Al-Azhar University in Cairo. Following his return from Al-Azhar University, he made his base in Awdal region where he spent the rest of his long and distinguished career.

Talking about the history of education in the great state of "Awdal", one cannot afford to overlook this preeminent religious scholar, educator, community leader and a courageous advocate of civil rights. In "1959", Sheik Omar Goth was instrumental in the first co-education class in the then Somaliland Protectorate, which became operational in Dilla elementary school, against the objections of some local community members and even the enlightened educational officer of the day.

Sheik Ali Jowhar Secondary School came into existence following an inspirational speech, Sheik Omar delivered in Borama grand mosque that moved the worshipers into frenzy. After that day, he started an aggressive fund raising drive into the country, where he collected more than 300 hundred heads of sheep. When the construction of the school was completed, the city elders proposed to name the school after him. He respectfully declined the offer, and in turn proposed the school to be named after his teacher, the great religious scholar of all times, Sheik Ali Jowhar. That was a short glimpse of how Sheik Ali Jowhar Secondary School came into being. The construction of the school was completely a community project. The school was opened in "1973".

He was also behind the creation of the first cooperative farms in the region, which is still functional as I speak. Sheik Omar also vehemently defended the writing of the Somali language in Latin script, a very controversial project at the time. Sheik Omar's accomplishments in terms of education, civil rights, justice, teaching, counseling and conflict resolution are infinite and endless, but I am just trying here to put a short synopsis of the long career of this selfless leader into perspective.

She Omar may Allah bless his soul was a courageous visionary, a respected educator, a selfless community leader, an advocate, a loud voice for the voiceless, and a valuable peacemaker. The British colonial administration put him in jail due to his fervent pro-independence sentiments. He was an open-minded, progressive religious scholar and a revolutionary. He always stood on the side of what was right, and never shrank from standing by controversial issues if he thought they are right. Sheik Omar successfully overcame numerous roadblocks and obstacles put forth in front of Awdal education by some religious fanatics or zealots of the time, who were preaching that modern education was tantamount to christianization.

In the 1940's again he was instrumental in averting an armed clash between two Gadaboursi sub clans. His extensive knowledge in Islamic jurisprudence, Koranic exegesis, prophet's traditions, Arabic grammar, literature and shear wisdom helped him resolve disputes between communities, rally communities for good causes, speak out against both the British colonial administration and the successive corrupt governments that ruled the area. Sheik Omar was always on the side of fairness and justice and what was right no matter what. Sheik Omar may Allah bless his soul passed away in 1988.

Post conflict education:

History will be very kind to the pioneers of the first post conflict higher education in Somaliland,and the Somali-speaking world for that matter. They were the following: Professor Suleiman Ahmed Guleid, Professor Aboker Sh. Abdi, Professor Farah Shuun Abrain, Mr. Abiib Ilburo, professor Abdillahi Hashi Abiib, and many others. This afore-mentioned list is neither the most accurate nor a list that encompasses all the selfless individuals and communities, who made this unprecedented, endeavor to be realized. The permutations and commutations of this list will be subject to constant change and adjustment. These selfless pioneers are the Booker T. Washington's, Mary McLeod Bethune's, Sheik Aw Barkhadleh's of our time. This men and their supporters will go down in the hall of fame of education in our country.

The coming generations cannot escape mentioning their names when talking about higher education in our neck of the woods. Those in the diaspora need to keep the good work they have already done in the establishment of this great institution. Amoud University project is nothing but a revolutionary enterprise not less important than the French revolution, the Renaissance, and the reformation. This massive grassroots effort is one of the most successful projects, conducted since the foundation of the post conflict modern Somaliland. This bold project became one of the major engines that moved Somaliand forward. This project immediately has triggered a movement for higher education in Hargeisa. Then a came a chain reaction similar to a nuclear chain reaction, of a radioactive isotope unleashed with an enormous power. Now you can see many communities devastated by clan wars talking about building institutions of higher education.

Amoud University completely changed the paradigm of public discourse. This marked a historical change of epoch proportions.It is an understatement to say that it changed the whole political, social and educational dynamics of the whole landscape. It changed the direction of the nation. In Somaliland, at the present; there are three potentially major institutions of learning in Amoud, Hargeisa, and Burao. In Mogadishu and Bossaso there are also two other Institutions of higher learning.

Certainly the impact of the local grassroots higher education movement cannot be ignored either. The initial movement started in the diaspora, then overtime caught fire and reached Awdal, Somaliland, Djibouti and beyond. The names of the selfless pioneers of this massive revolutionary movement will go down a golden page in history. They already left an indelible mark in our history. They will be remembers for perhaps thousands of years to come. These Honorable men and women may be memorialized and remembered like Imam Ahmed Gurrey, Haji Diide, Jama Saylici, Farah Omar, Adan Isaac, Shiek Ibrahim Zaylici, Sheik Ali Jowhar, Sheik Ibrahim Hujaleh, Sheik Hussein Baliyaal, Barkad As, and Ahmed Haji Bahdoon for a long time to come.

It is also worth remembering the alma mater of the great Amoud Secondary School that had significantly contributed to the founding and the sustainability of AU. Special thanks to both Somalilanders and non-Somalilanders who generously contributed to the foundation of this great institution of higher learning, that completely shifted the direction of Somaliland. Amoud University project epitomizes a massive structural change of our society. It also marked a huge non-conventional demobilization of the armed young men who were roaming around our communities. It also makes hope for thousands of young people, who used to travel thousands of miles, to get access to higher education during the reign of the former despotic and genocidal regime. One of the uniqueness of Amoud University is not the notion, that it provides education for the upcoming generations only, it is also providing free bus service to the University students, this is an unprecedented endeavor anywhere in the world.

Formation of Amoud University:

The end of the civil strife and the clan supremacist wars of the mid-eighties and early nineties of the last century, triggered a massive higher education movement, originally started by a few people in the diaspora, and joined by the local communities of Awdal/Gabiley and else where. One of the major driving force that triggered that movement was the idleness of young people, either graduated from high schools or dropped out due to the clan supremacist wars of the late eighties. Visionaries both in the diaspora and the motherland communities, were alarmed by the presence of a large number of idle youth among them, in a time of a very fragile peace, with a very few institutions of law enforcement and the judiciary in place. This God sent institution-Amoud University indirectly became the demobilization vehicle of armed young people, who would have otherwise joined the tribal militias who wrecked havoc in many other parts of former Somalia. The early establishment of an institution of higher learning may be a great factor to the deep-rooted peace and stability in Somaliland.

Anyway, to make a long story short, Amoud University marked a historical milestone in post civil strife Somaliland. It became the first institution of higher learning established in the dark times of turmoil, chaos and warlordism. Several other institutions of higher learning followed suit in different parts of Somaliand and Somalia.

My recent visit to Borama and Amoud University:

It is an understatement to say my visit to Amoud University was an emotional one. To walk you through my relationship and attachment to the Amoud Valley, I have graduated from the old Amoud Secondary School. When I graduated from the college of education in Mogadishu, I got the opportunity to briefly teach in Amoud Secondary School. The University president, Professor Suleiman Ahmed Guleid toured me around the University campus. I have noticed that the old student dormitories were changed into classes, offices and laboratories. The old buildings of the former Amoud Secondary School have been reconstructed, expanded and renovated. Currently about 450 are enrolled in AU. University students come from all regions of Somaliland. There are also some students from southern Somalia. Currently the University has five faculties:

- Education
- Business Administration
- Agriculture
- Medicine
- Geology and Geo-thermal Energy

Note to the diaspora:

Get involved in the development of your country. Don't think others will do things you would like to see or dream of to be done. "Be the change you want to become" - Mahatma Gandhi. Everything you see in this world is started by one or few persons. The massive Ford Foundation, the worldwide MacDonald Restaurants, Boeing and other giant institutions were all started by one or few dedicated and energetic individuals. Thomas Jefferson single-handedly started the University of Virginia; while the great African American educator, civil rights leader and statesman, Mr.Booker T. Washington, founded the prestigious African-American Tuskegee University in Alabama. Mary McLeod Bethune an African American civil rights agitator and leader founded a girls' college in Florida.

You must be counted today. Life is very short. You need to leave a legacy for your people. On the drawing boards at the moment is a marine college in Lugahay/Zayla and an agricultural college in Bakki, which are expected to be opened in the coming few years. Shortly, we are also hoping to conduct a huge summer fund raising drive for Amoud University. For more information regarding Amoud University and the coming summer fund raising, call (612)-296-6401 or e-mail Awdalnews network.

Suleiman Egeh,

Source: March 7 2005

Visit to Somaliland Prehistoric Caves

Everyone was looking forward to today's trip. For the first time we shall set foot on the latest prehistoric discovery made in Somaliland.

A convoy of more than 15 vehicles would've looked like a wedding or burial for Somalilanders, but no it was not, we were headed to Laas Gel, Dubato village in Hargeisa, the site of the discovery.

We were welcomed by the residents of Dubato and together with officials from the Ministry of Tourism ably guided us through the caves as we took each step eager to witness the prehistoric discovery.

Ministry of Tourism official Abdisalam explaining the story of the paintings.

We've been to five caves and witnessed this:

In November 2003, Awdal news reported the discovery of preshistoric paintings in caves located in Laas Ga'al, Dubato village, Hargeisa, Somaliland.

A month after, Archeology Professor Xavier Gutherz at Paul Valery University III Montpellier, France led his 10 member French team to study the pre-historic paintings. He described it as "more sophisticated than another found in Ethiopia, Djibouti and Eritrea which makes Laas Ga'al the most important Neolithic rock painting site in the entire Horn of Africa and most probably the rest of Africa"

Proper dating is yet to be done to determine the exact age of the paintings, however the archeologists believe that the caves in Dubato were used as "a religious temple and sacrificial place during pre-organized religion." Source: SLP Message Board, Qarannews

Somaliland bans use of plastic bags

NAIROBI, 1 Mar 2005 (IRIN) - Authorities in the self-declared republic of Somaliland on Monday banned the use of all types of plastic bags, information minister, Abdillahi Duale, told IRIN.

"The bags have not only become an environmental problem, but also an eyesore," he said on Tuesday from the Somaliland capital, Hargeysa.

The Somaliland cabinet, he added, made the decision to ban the bags, which had been nicknamed "the Hargeysa flower", following an assessment of the damage they caused to the environment. The ban marked the end of a 120-day grace period that the government had given to the public to get rid of their stocks.

The bags were mostly used to carry groceries and other goods. They were often discarded and litter most streets and landscapes across Somaliland. Many of them ended up being blown around and deposited on trees or shrubs, posing a danger to livestock because the animals that feed on the leaves in the shrubs often ingest the bags accidentally.

The Ministry of Trade and Industries announced the decision in a decree titled: "Banning importation, production and use of plastic bags in the country".

Duale said it would be accompanied by an awareness campaign to inform the public about the danger of plastic bags. "We will use both the print and broadcast media to reach as many people as possible," he added.

He said people should use reusable, environmental-friendly baskets and containers, such as sacks made of straws, reeds and sisal. "These are the kind of containers that our people traditionally used" before the arrival of the plastic bags, Duale said.

Duale said all the country's seaports, airports and other border points had been instructed to enforce the ban. "We are determined as a government to enforce this ban, no matter what," he said.

A week ago, researchers in Kenya recommended that thin plastic bags, widely used across the country for carrying shopping, be banned because they pollute the environment and are a potential health hazard.

In a report released during the 21-25 February meeting of the Governing Council of the UN Environment Programme in Nairobi, the researchers also recommended that taxes on the manufacture of thicker plastic bags be hiked to discourage their use.

Prof Wangari Maathai, the 2004 Nobel Peace Prize winner and the Kenyan assistant minister for environment, has linked plastic bag litter with malaria. She said, the bags, once discarded, fill with rainwater, offering ideal breeding grounds for malaria-carrying mosquitoes.

Source: February 27, 2005

Editorial: How much longer can Somaliland survive on armchair politics and empty stomach?

Given the background of the Dark Continent's internecine wars, unending military coups and dictatorial rulers as well as the lawlessness and gun culture reigning in Southern Somalia, Somaliland remained as the darling of African studies academicians, political observers and the donor fatigue world community over the past 14 years.

With its homegrown peace and stability, its sure-footed strides in building democratic institutions and strengthening the rule of law, its thriving press freedom and its fledgling civil societies, Somaliland was viewed and described as "Africa's Best Kept Secret."

The Somaliland people, known for their entrepreneurial skills, have devoted their energy and time in rehabilitating their lives, re-healing the wounds caused by years of brutal dictatorship and civil strife, rebuilding their homes and reasserting their national identity and national pride as a sovereign state. They proved skeptics wrong by successfully holding two elections, a municipality and presidential elections, and preparing for the parliamentary one in March 2005, the last cycle of the country's democratic process.

Alongside the democratization and peace building efforts also went social development projects such as rehabilitating schools, hospitals and civil society organizations. Today, Somaliland boasts of having several universities, few colleges and a number of vocational schools.

Making all these accomplishments with little help from the international community and with its sisterly Somalia sinking deeper into a state of chaos and unabated bloodshed has made the world take notice of Somaliland's wisdom and resilience in coasting all these years through grinding economic situation and frustrating political limbo.

Today when the fruits of their long labor were due to be reaped, Somalilanders have found themselves between a rock and a hard place. On the one side Somalilanders have every right to be proud of their accomplishments. Hargeisa can match any other African capital with its luxurious hotels, gorgeous villas and bungalows and state-of-the art architecture. On the other side, however, Hargeisa and all other Somaliland towns for that matter have no town planning, no roads, no services, no sewage system, no water supply, no reliable electricity, no health services and no source of income with 90% or more of the community relying on assistance from relatives in the diaspora and the whole able-bodied population unemployed with no hope of economic or political salvation in sight.

This situation has encouraged regional political burglars and highwaymen to act not only on Somaliland's behalf but also to sneak under the darkness and steal its territory, its economic potential and its fundamental existence as a sovereign state.

The first blow came from Djibouti, which has signed an agreement with Saudi Arabia to be the gateway for the exports of livestock coming from Somaliland. It also handed over its customs and ports to the Emirate of Dubai to develop and manage them in an attempt to acquire ultra-modern equipment and implement advanced IT infrastructure solutions, thus eclipsing Berbera's role as a potential rival the same way that Djibouti had eclipsed the flourishing port of Zeila in the early 20th century.

The second blow came from Puntland whose Machiavellian warlord had first played the tribal card to dismember Somaliland and throw its territorial integrity into a perpetual doubt. With Abdillahi Yusuf Ahmed now buoyant with his newfound power and international recognition as the leader of Somalia, there is no doubt that he will make his priority to stymie Somaliland's ambition for nationhood. The establishment of the Horn of African Free Zone (HAFZA) in Puntland is a step to tighten the noose on Somaliland's dying economy and force it to fall into Ahmed's lap like a ripen fruit.

All this wheeling and dealing is taking place while Somalilanders are engaged in a mudslinging and cutthroat political squabble on the leadership of a hungry nation. It is no wonder that many of the Somaliland people who in the very recent past couldn't stomach to hear the name Somalia or Mogadishu have to follow with unprecedented enthusiasm the developments of the Somali government formed in Nairobi.

After living almost a decade and a half in the political twilight, Somalilanders are not only demoralized and beaten by the travails of finding their daily bread, but some of them have started to question about the viability of issues that they felt were so sacrosanct to even think about questioning them. If the conversation of Somalilanders in the coffee shops and their rush to meeting delegations of the newly formed Somali government could be taken as any measure, one can notice a change of tone and a softening of the position of the most die-hard Somalilanders towards any reference of association of their country with Somalia.

It may be appropriate to remind Somalilanders here that yes they have established peace and stability, yes they have turned Somaliland into an exemplary state in terms of building democratic institutions, holding multi-party democratic elections, enjoying free press and civil societies and trashing each other in the local and online media, but they have utterly failed in rising above the trivial political and tribal squabbles and thinking GRAND to bring about an economic change in their country. They failed to establish shareholding companies and attracting international business to their homeland. They have all become armchair politicians and excelled in outsmarting each other in shouting debates. They opted for resting on their laurels and got intoxicated with such labels as "Africa's Best Kept Secret" but they forgot that a hungry person could hardly keep any secret if he/she can sell it for bread. They have to know that the test is now. Either they have to trust each other, add penny to penny and create employment-generating businesses or they should know that people cannot live on empty stomachs and empty rhetoric for long and so they may not find any alternative but to try another 30 years of hell with bread than heaven without.

c 2005 Awdalnews Network

Source: Feb/27/2005

Safia Otokore of Somaliland originel,Born in Djibouti

Safia Ibrahim aka SERPENT(Snake)

Born in Djibouti in a stripped family, the vice-president of the regional council of Bourgogne leaves a book to tell her course out of the commun run. "When you will put yourself in the head which you will be never white?", had habit to say her mother, exceeded to see it plunged in books instead of dealing with the house. In this beginning of the years 1980, in the suburbs pauper of Djibouti, where the Ibrahim family, issaks from Somaliland, tried to survive, small Safia was already a kid with share. This skinny person with the paces of "real tomboy", fourth child of a brood of ten small children, was very early inhabited, like she says it herself, by a "rageuse will" which pushes it out of the beaten paths. Very quickly, she learns how to lie, with ruser. She wants to live. The athletics - teenager, sh e becomes championne of medium-distance race - will make her cross the African borders, discover the C"te d'ivoire, Senegal, and meet her husband-to-be. The book of this woman "born poor, black and Muslim" should amaze of them more one. And to aggravate some others of them... Elected on the list PS, at the time of the municipal poll of March 2001, Safia Otokor, is today a mayor assistant of the town of Auxerre (Yonne) and, since March 2004, vice-president of the Burgundy area, delegated to youth and the sports, and the fight against discriminations. It is by the policy, in fact the socialist Party, which she succeeded in being made a name. A first name rather: Safia - the title of her autobiography, to appear at the end of February (editions Robert Laffont). At 36 years hardly... "She left the brook because she is ambitious. she had very early the desire to flee her condition, t! o become somebody ", underlines Nicole Lambron, a Frenchwoman who lived in Djibouti and shouldered a long time morally and financially the Ibrahim family. The book of Safia Otokor, is dedicated to this funny of French godmother, thanks to whom the "sauvageonne" of District 3 ( Quartier 3) could continue her studies. Without this blow of inch, it is not sure that the "captive" young person, dependent on heavinesses of the company djiboutienne, would have succeeded in escaping.

It is that it does not make good food, when one is woman and poor, in this disinherited area which is the horn of Africa! It is enough to be convinced some to read what Safia Otokor, tells of the excision of the girls, that itself underwent at the 7 years age. With this first mutilation - the ablation of part of the clitoris -, the regional habit adds a second, that of the infibulation, tortures of it ritual ! which was worth in Somalia the nickname of "country of the bent women". In its misfortune, small Safia however had chance. It is included/understood, to discover the history, atrocious and banal, of one of her sisters, Kaltoum, "the best among us", she says, married of force several times, and which, after having tried to escape its fate, died mis,rablement, seven years ago, in Djibouti. When it speaks about Kaltoum, sat at table in a coffee of Auxerre, Safia Otokor, does not manage to retain its tears. It them essuie very quickly. "I wrote this book so that Auxerrois know me, that they know from where I come", releases it, finding its smile already. Question of discipline. Under its unmethodical paces, Safia Otokor, has an iron character. In streets of this large village of 40 000 inhabitants, a long time stronghold of Jean-Pierre Soisson, those which greets it - here a municipal police officer, there a militant Socialist with whom i! t exchanges two words, further one young French "recently converted with the Islam" which tears off an appointment to him -, one knows black municipal official only his political titles and the name of his ex-husband, Didier Otokor,, footballer of international level, with which it had two wire. Its enemies - it has the wild ones - lend a thirst to him for capacity inextinguishable, a desire of "arriver at any price ".

Officially, it is however not that whose mayor of Auxerre, the Socialist Guy Ferez, former comrade of countryside, shows his bubbling assistant. With high voice, it reproaches him its "absence of work" and its "lack of rigour". Furious, it announced, at the end of January, which it withdrew its delegation with Safia Otokor,. The young woman does not keep of it less her title. And its pugnacity. "It is a little too sharp and honest. It is a defect which it must quickly correct ", another Guy, certainly more famous ha! s fun than the mayor of the city: Red-headed Guy, the trainer of the AJ Auxerre. It knows Safia since its arrival in France, in 1993, when it came to join its footballer of husband. "Me, I belong to those which like it!", exclaim it to the point. "Its will to make career? They is courageous of its share, especially which it has of the serious handicaps: it is a young woman, it is African and it only saw ", estimates the professional of football. "But it is also a very good thing, adds it. Safia became the welfare officer of all the African ones of Auxerre. She is of an extreme devotion to the others. And it is a weak word... " From her native Africa, Safia Otokor, did not bring back very cordial memories - except that of this grandmother of Hargeisa, Ayeyo, brouteuse of khat and smoky of narguil,, with legendary coolness. At the time, in Somalia, the women were v^tues fine coloured veils, with the colours sharp. "Today, in the streets of Hargeisa - capital of Somaliland, the women put the burka", notes Safia Otokor,, which goes back there from time to time. Without enthusiasm. "My at me is neither in Somalia nor in Djibouti. My roots, I do them myself, here!", launch the Bourguignonne young person, while making visit the house that it has just bought, in a residential district of old Auxerre. Coincidence? The house belonged formerly to a mayor, Jean Moreau. "If I must leave my prints some share, it will be here, in Auxerre, in the department of Yonne", promises it. To see passions which this "free electron with supports placed high causes", as a local journalist, it calls it is already made thing... Catherine Simon.

- 1969 Birth In Djibouti.
- 1993 Arrive to France with her husband, the footballer Didier Otokor,.
- 2004 Assistant (PS) with the mayor of Auxerre, she becomes vice-president of the Burgundy area.
2005 Publication of her autobiography, "Safia".
Posted by Ismael Ibrahim, London.

Soource: Feb 27 2005/The Republican


As an orphanage raised-child, I have grown up as a shy person who avoids any confrontational approach or arguments. I prefer to be passive and indirect in my way of addressing other people. But because of Riyale's school of thought is that much dumb and can't read my cursive writing. We must debate while we are naked and barefooted. So that we can see his true colures. There is nothing more fun and entertaining than the old style of a free tea party of the good old days. But nowadays in the Riyale era when the bill of the tea arrives, a witty guy pipes it brilliantly saying. "Let us split the bill into two or three ways". Then every one of us nods happily in agreement and pays his share. As no one could afford to pay the whole sum alone by himself. In the golden years of childhood, we used to be ourselves and nobody else. As kids, we did things just for fun and to make us laugh. Authenticity was an organic part of our nature.

There were no false notes on our cheeks. We used to hate rain at night and we did not like goodbyes. As a child can only have one religon and can only go to one school. You have to understand the demands of your customers after you spy on their eyes. War turns society in to a class-room, and that is why the Americans are learning what they never wanted to learn. They are royals that got stuck in mud. Pausing and pushing back tears. People of all races and creeds are mad at them, but little scared. The Americans really deserves a place with some dignity. But the whole world is not buying that argument. Mr.Bush is a man with the ability to alter reality through his dreams. Delivering bombs with butter, and books with bullets. Mr.Riyale is playing the same guitar-tone in rank and file. Delivering two contradicting facts. Federation and independence, friction and unity. To say of any main that he is God, or that his father is God, is not an honour but an insult . Somaliland peasants understands this distinction better than the UDUB Empire scholars who are receiving last calls after midnight from Jibouti. Telling us what they heard but can't speak of their own.

We, the silent majority of Somaliland has no spark of hope. President Riyale is a man in a mission. A typical Clone of Mr.Michael Gorbachauof of the dead Soviet Union. If a man is in a good comma. You can drive his car and you can wear his shoes. Complaints range from fully justified such as a break away brand new wife, to trivial complaints such as that, you are too short or too tall. It slowly leads to the pieces of the puzzle. The Ku Klux Klan of Mr.Riyale is trading off food for thought. But who accepts nothing, has nothing to return. Adam ate the apple and that is why our throats still aches. But there is no accounting for taste. Mr.Riyale is advertising what he can't sell. Sitting with his battery operated girl friend in Jibouti at the conference table closest to grill of death. She has chosen to undergo illegal female circumcision.

Dispensing good advice and taking lessons of disregard from a bad coach and teacher. Experience is the School of mind and there is no need to apologize for my sore throat. My close friends blame me for being ugly and seditious in my style of writing. But I couldn't convince them that ugliness is the Art of God. We must adorn the beauty of nature in all it's forms without segregation. Agony and laughter are both alarming sounds. Somebody has been spinning the threads of confusion and despair for a while. Jibouti is declaring war against our Video Radar Survillance Tapes stationed at the border in Loya-Ado. Set there to keep track of the flying-saucers that are landing alien-immigrants that has triple citizenship. Talk-oriented robots that can fulfill dual applications. Both, in a civil and military service. Some evil ghosts that are denying our identity as Somalilanders and disrespecting our Suni-Faith. When rats want advice, they never take from the cats. Who is responsible for this big change of heart inbetween Hargeisa and Jibouti? We will leave that hair splitting wild guess to Mr.Riyale. Somebody has been given an open cheque to rape and pillage our freedom and aspiration. Our ship is wrecking in the dead sea under the watchful eyes of our president.

. If I give him the benefit of the doubt. He is one in either way. Either corruption or dismay is his perception for the Government of integrity and political correctness. Or he has been a man in a secret mission. A divorce is indeed the answer and it couldn't happen to a nicer person. We must tell the Americans that he has rocket war heads that could be used to carry chemical agents. Mr.Riyale must be advised to think twice about whom he dances with, for changing the mood of his people. The whole country is sleep-walking on a sensitive mine-fields and tethered explosives. It is never late to be silly. A generation of indifference, immoral cowards of wishful thinking have doomed us to the status - quo of no where. Telling us that South Africa is dividing the Africans, not uniting them. Let them know that right now, South Africa teaches one thing and practices what it teaches. How come you want us to believe that companies from South Africa will invest in an unrecognized country? Tell that story to the camel drivers.

Recently our athletes were driven out of Jibouti simply because for refusing to labell themselves with Somalia. Our livestock trade route has been changed to Jibouti by the help of your close ministers and some business men. And yet one of your mouthpiece minister is announcing on Radio Hargeisa that Saudi Arabia and other Gulf States will import our livestock within a month. For years, our national army is in a tug of war with pockets of sand flies that are loyal to the Governor of Majertaniya. Our army tanks, armored cars, artilleries and military heavy equipment turned into beehives for being idle under the heat of the sun. Our dedicated soldiers got depressed and frusterated after being away from families and friends for years for no apparent reason. Just simply waiting for the enemy to strike them again. Mr.Riyale, we want a moment of truth not a moment of lying. For how long I will keep breaking my sword over my kness and sue for peace. It is good to be true with yourself. Your UDUB Party is on the verge of bankruptcy because of the massive cash flow and brain-drainage. Freedom and Heroism are dirty words in Mr.Riyale School of thought. Forging our painful tears into fake smiles.

According to a report released in October by WHO. Somalilanders are more likely to commit suicide than die from armed conflict or homicide. We are more dangerous to ourselves. There are usually stressful events coupled with depression and despair. We are our own worst enemy. We are all fans of illicit political drug and will continue to follow the direction that the current takes us. Lacking a political platform of direction and aim. I am skeptical about the ability of a clone baby that never grows more than six cells. Heading a Government that is moving at nail's pace and friendly to a group bent to the destruction of Somaliland. The tighter controlled border and the new restricted security measures of the Ethiopian friends, is the backlash of Mr.Riyale's loyalty to Djibouti. Plus the feet-dragging policy of giving at least a fake kiss to Addis. We have slammed the door on the face of our true friends and can't say even hello to them. There is no penalty for driving the train with deceptive measures. Bad guys know that war is a force that gives us some meaning. Good guys have no guns. A deceptive image that likes to portray as a Government of integrity. If many means a billion, we can understand the reason why. He vowed more than once that he would advocate for the vision and agenda that he shares with Djibouti. Above that, badmouthing Jibouti is an offensive crime paneled in our criminal code act. Even if it is a slip of tongue.

Mr.President, every penny of mistake is credited to your red account and you are under surveillance. This is not your world. It is our world and career. Mr.Ahmed Mohamed Qaybe, we have seen your favourite movie. Black Hawk is down. We have recived the message. Acting your part as a professional striptease performing a table - dance in public through the Hargeisa TV without feeling the least shame of yourself. Declaring openly your loyality to great Somalia and not apologizing for the harm you did diplomatically to Somaliland. Your teeth can tell the truth. We really appreciate your show. That is why I am speaking turkey. you are allergic to anything that smells good or looks gold. Your reasoning and weapon of choice is patronage, federalism, and nepotism under one umbrella. Mr.Jomo Kenyata said, when the Europians came to Africa. They told us to close our eyes and say Amin. By the time we opened our eyes, they were holding the land and we were holding the Bible. The Nazi came and they have asked for the Jewish. I kept silent because I was not a Jewish. Then they asked for the communist. I kept silent because I was not a communist. They came back and asked for the Trade- Unionist. I kept silent, because I was not a Trade Unionist. At last they came and ask for me. I looked around and nobody was there except me. I prayed then and doomed to death. Some people's action cry loudly of their true colours. The president has typically embraced individuals whom the public see them as trashes, intolerant, and unacceptable for steering the wheel of their future. To undermine and sabotage the true values of the national interest.

Nowadays more than other times, somalilanders got alarmed, depressed, disappointed and defiant. The fat UDUB Empire is building its Bureaucratic-civics of dirty jokes. Claiming good guardian of the public purse, while our budget is in red ink. Our stomach is empty while their pocket are full. Smiling in contempt to the camera as he is booked by the public for driving under the influence of federalism. A dead democracy where a bunch of of hoggs keeps track of who gets married, who is vegetarians, and who is stirring up a storm in a tea-cup. I can print that for sure right now. Mr.Riyale, Broken glasses can be replaced but never be fixed. Things working anticlock-wise. Mistrust and confusion has colored our lives. When we speak the American language. China has an ailing communist party with terrible human rights record. But in reality, it is a sleeping giant and if it wakes up. The Wild West will tremble. The volcanoe, the Roman God of fire with it's sweeping-lava and burning-steam, will be activated soon or later. Mr Riyaale, before it gets too late, you must reshuffle the old cards as a new years resolution. Research shows that people can create their good fortune as they go through life by hard work.

Take my advice with a grain of salt. From no-wrong to no-right. I watch the masses culture as spectator of the merry-go-round. I don't care about the specific details of his cheap-opera. But it is not fun watching the society disintegrating and destroying itself. Our bill of rights confined only to pinpoint and say. "Look at that over there, look what they did." Happy-Gangs of Hargeisa dictating our destiny in the wrong way. The years's Award-show of Jibouti arrived lately in the happy New Year. It is expected to attract more worldwide audience. Jibouti characterizes the ruin of the lives of the law-abiding Somalilanders. They never show at least few sheded tears to apologize for their past transgressions.. What is a hate crime? In Jibouti's point of view. It is a way to add extra punishment for crimes motivated by bias or prejuidice against a person based on his colour or race. A bartender in Jibouti acting as a religious cleric, called for Fatwa (a religious ediet). Frequently calling for the death of the enemy of Great Somalia. Publicly condemned Somalilanders as Zionists, infidels and unhealthy Christians.

Yusef Deyr, Hargeisa

BBC Monitoring/BBC. Source: Financial Times/February 27, 2005

Somaliland court rules parliamentary elections to be held as scheduled

The constitutional court of the Republic of Somaliland today gave its ruling on a constitutional case referred to it by the attorney-general.

The attorney-general in line with article 77, section 4 of the constitution had conveyed a presidential memorandum to the court regarding the election law of the House of Representatives which violated articles 22, 48 and 70 of the constitution and the rights of the people to vote or to be elected.

The court's ruling has allowed the public to cast their votes [for the parliamentary elections] at any date chosen by the president in line with article 42, section 2 of the Somaliland constitution.

Following its examination of article 22 of the election laws of the House Representatives of 2005 [passage omitted] the Republic of Somaliland is made up of several regions, which are divided into districts however, the law does not state that a census of people in the regions and districts must be carried out before the elections.

The constitutional court ruling was signed by Faysal Hasan Jama Gedi - chairman, Mahmud Hirsi Salah - member, Shaykh Ali Abdi Guled - member, Yasin Hasan Isma'il - member, Abdi Ilmi - member, Usman Isma'il Ahmad - member, Muhammad Umar Gelle - member.

[The Somaliland House of Representatives had passed an election bill demanding registration of voters in all districts before elections are held - a move which was criticized by President Dahir Riyale Kahin and members of the public as an attempts by MPs to postpone elections indefinitely to safeguard their seats. The ruling by the constitutional courts which was greeted by celebrations in Hargeysa today, means the bicameral parliament has been overruled and parliamentary elections slated for 29 March are to go on].

Source: Feb 27 2005


The heated debate over the parliamentary elections seems to have over taken our senses of reason, logic, and responsibility. Unfortunately, our political leadership has turned the nation's business into a ping-pong bouncing back and forth between the threats of mass demonstrations and the taunting of any Somali Lander holding an alien passport as an undesirable element of society. These are symptoms of an imperfect process and a society unwilling to learn from its past mistakes.

The times of procrastination, postponement, dithering, and business as usual are over. The general public has been watching, wondering, and waiting on the sidelines for too long. Our politicians are bound by law to heed the demands of the society. The silent majority is no longer at ease and the wrath of an angry electorate can make or break the political dreams of some of the leadership of our national parties.

The dinosaur and the dodo bird of Mauritius became extinct because both of them failed to adjust to some subtle changes in their environments. I am afraid some of our political parties are heading to oblivion unless they make some drastic structural and/or organization surgery. Some hardened radical elements are resorting to divisive tactics. Our liberation movement gave us a nation called Somaliland and that is the end of the story. Some times we have to swallow our pride, lick our political wounds and move on. After the liberation of France during the second world war, the Vichy Government officials that collaborated with the Nazis held prominent positions in the new French government. That is a fact of history.

Let us hope that there will be three national parties on March 30th, 2005 or alternatively, May 25th, 2005, whichever date the election is held.

Currently, rumours circulating in our local media allude to the existence of a secret three party agreement to circumvent the electoral law. This brokered deal, if substantiated, in effect revives one of the discarded options of representation allocation [the 1960 arrangement with a multiplicative index of 2.50]. Such maneuvers are a blatant tampering of the election process. It is a non starter.

Our legislatures enacted a bill stipulating the adoption of the concept of proportional representation based on ONE MAN ONE VOTE. No political gerrymandering here, please. In other words, no representation without participation. The representation of any district or districts that fail to conduct the election should be automatically suspended.

The dice has been already rolled and the count down to the official beginning of the campaign for the upcoming parliamentary elections is less than a few days away. On the morning of March 29th, 2005 the citizens of our nation will head to the polling stations to cast their ballots fulfilling a national and a civic duty_ the first parliamentary elections in Somaliland in thirty six years.

The opposition national parties and the general public have no interest in participating any discussion forums involving the remote possibility of extending the mandate of the current parliament [House of Representatives or the Gurti-Senate]. THE TERM OF THE CURRENT PARLIAMENT EXPIRES ON MAY 27th, 2005 AND THAT LEAVES A GRACE PERIOD OF 30 DAYS - A MINOR EXTENSION OF SORTS, IN CASE THE MARCH 29th, DEADLINE IS TOO CLOSE FOR COMFORT.

Whether the election could be conducted on the 29th of March is not a matter of national debate at this moment. The election call has been made and the government in power should deliver on its promise with due diligence. The international community is waiting for the outcome of this election and our government has made that commitment. Any excuse to the contrary is a deliberate and willful scuttling of this democratic process and that is not acceptable at all. If the election bill contains some unnecessary piggybacks attached to it, then it is the responsibility of the two houses of parliament, the government, the National Electoral Commission, and the Constitutional Court to remove such impediments. Failure to do so is a national treason punishable by mass Impeachment.

The national referendum, the municipal elections, and the presidential election were all conducted without any census records and the voters had no national identification papers whatsoever. Of course, there will be a periodic census every five or ten years and that is to keep track of demographic changes in the country. At the moment, the nation has neither the financial wherewithal nor the logistical capabilities to conduct a census involving the documentation and the registration of every Somaliland citizen. Simply put, the resources and the means are not at our disposal right now.

The parliamentary election is a historic event crowning the democratic transformation that was born at the Burao Convention of April 27th to May 19th, 1991[restoration of Somaliland statehood as of June 26th, 1960 and the implementation of a genuine, all inclusive peace and reconciliation process between Somaliland communities].

That was followed by the Borama National Conference of 24th January, 1993 to May 24th, 1993 that adopted a temporary National Charter, the continuation of the peace Process, and the beginning of a bicameral system of parliament.

The Hargeisa Congress of Somaliland Communities of February 1997 through May 1997culminated in the drafting of the Constitution, the referendum for the Constitution and the birth of the national political parties. Our municipal and presidential elections were a resounding success given the circumstance of the time and the current parliamentary elections should not be any different at all. There is no justification to short circuit that process and one way or the other, it should be completed as scheduled.

The freedoms of speech, assembly, and association without fear of retribution are enshrined in our national constitution and these are part and parcel of the UNIVERSAL DECLARATION OF HUMAN RIGHTS adopted by the United Nations Organization. Therefore, the public has the right to demonstrate at any time on any legitimate national issue. Peaceful demonstration is a healthy manifestation of participatory democracy and the degree of maturity of the society to exercise this inalienable right within the limits of the law of the land.

However, we all remember what transpired at the end of the presidential elections of April 14th, 2003. There had been an extensive local and international media coverage about instances of unrestrained police tactics resulting in unwarranted physical harm to some of the demonstrators. Our politicians need to avoid vitriolic rhetoric and threats that create an atmosphere of uncertainty and chaos.

If, and it is only a hypothetical if for the time being, the government fails to conduct the election, then the political parties and the government agencies dealing with public security should at least agree on a general framework including some of the following:

the timing and the duration of the demonstration;
the police and the demonstrating public should any provocative actions that endanger the safety of each group;
the safety of the general public should not be compromised at any time;
that there should be no damage to public or private property;
and finally, the peaceful dispersion at the end of the demonstration.

If either party fails to meet these minimum guarantees, then no political party should gamble on the lives of the citizens to air its legitimate grievances. The state is on a panic mode at the moment and the word demonstration is an anathema and a sure political suicide.

The issue of passports and citizenship is not a matter of exchanging tirades and innuendos between our politicians at public forums. The possession of dual or triple citizenship does not mean that the Somalilanders of the diaspora are persona non gratia in their own country. The articles dealing with the citizenship and residency discriminates against the diaspora. The Somaliland citizens who live overseas did not forsake or relinquish their nationality and they should not be stigmatized as such. The meager remittances of the diaspora to their families and their investments contribute to the financial well being of our country. We, as a group, made our contributions during and after the liberation war.

Thank you and God bless our nation.

Yours faithfully,
Ahmed Ali Ibrahim [Sabeyse] Scarborough, Ontario. Canada. February 24th, 2005.

Source: Feb 26 2005

Why Don't You Give Us [Somaliland] Recognition?"

Mr Blair answered: "Well let me sense that. we want to help the people of your country.......

London, UK, Feb 26, 2005 (SL Times) - British Prime Minister, Tony Blair held a press conference yesterday at Lancaster House to talk about the Commission for Africa project. Mr. Blair gave an exclusive meeting to a group of African journalists at four o'clock (UK time) in which he spoke about his envisaged aid project for Africa. Blair was flanked by the popular music star and founder of Live aid, Bob Geldof. Somaliland Times editor, Yusuf Gabobe, posed the following question to the British Prime Minister:

Q: Mr. Prime Minister, one of the success stories in Africa is Somaliland, a country doing well without aid, although that doesn't mean they don't need aid. But the most important thing that they need is recognition. Your government has been reluctant to recognize Somaliland though at one time Somaliland was a British Protectorate and later an independent country. People there are building effectively a whole country from scratch. It's a Muslim country practicing democracy, good governance, free press and free economy. What else could you possibly want from us? Why don't you give us recognition, that is the best way you could help (laughter from audience). We cannot travel and our private sector cannot do business with the rest of the world due to lack of recognition.. (Interruption by Geldof, saying. 'Because your country is not recognized clearly it doesn't exist, urban terrorists could possibly be there').

Mr Blair answered: "Well let me sense that. we want to help the people of your country. We have to be sure that these things you said are going to endure. But I can assure you.. it's not really a prejudice that is holding us back. We have to just wait and see what the coming months bring. "

Blair stressed that although there are people within Africa and out who are skeptical of the Commission, they should give it a chance and not condemn it before even it launches its report on March 11, 2005.

"This is a once in a generation chance to make a difference. In the end you divide people into two groups; the cynical who think that nothing can be done and the optimistic. It isn't true nothing ever changes. Those people, who never try, never find out the difference," added Mr Blair.

Blair hopes to rally support for the Commission of Africa using the UK's chairmanship of the G-8 and the European Union. He said it would also be crucial to bring on board Japan and the US.

After Tony Blair's press conference, Meles Zenawi, the Prime Minister of Ethiopia, participated in an international press conference. Yusuf A. Gabobe asked a last minute question:

Q: Will your relations with the new government of Somalia has an effect on your relations with Somaliland?

Meles Zenawi: No, never. It will not happen.


Source: February 24, 2005


While he was in prison his father and Haji Abdi Warabe went to Mogadishu to see Siad Barre and to beg him to extend a presidential pardon to Faisal. Siad Barre agreed and even promised to give him a better post where there was more potential for corruption provided he worked for the system against the then nascent SNM insurgency in the north (i.e. Somaliland). The old men agreed and so Faisal was released and assigned to the post of Chief of Municipal Land Distribution and Management in Mogadishu. He is said to have made a lot of money from kickbacks accruing from his powers in that post.

Soon after coming back from the USSR where he studied engineering at Leningrad, he became an engineer at the Ministry of Public Works in Mogadishu. Some time later he was assigned to a project at Shalambood, near Merca, consisting of small thatched-roof buildings for Italian tourists. During the time that he was working as the resident engineer of that project, Faisal was accused and convicted of misappropriating a large sum of money running into the millions of Somali shillings, which in those days (the late 1970's) was a lot of money even in dollar terms. He received a long prison sentence.

While he was in prison his father and Haji Abdi Warabe went to Mogadishu to see Siad Barre and to beg him to extend a presidential pardon to Faisal. Siad Barre agreed and even promised to give him a better post where there was more potential for corruption provided he worked for the system against the then nascent SNM insurgency in the north (i.e. Somaliland). The old men agreed and so Faisal was released and assigned to the post of Chief of Municipal Land Distribution and Management in Mogadishu. He is said to have made a lot of money from kickbacks accruing from his powers in that post.

As a quid pro quo he was asked to do something about those educated young men (later assuming the name "Uffo") who were thought to be instigating the people of Hargeisa against the government. Faisal travelled to Hargeisa and recruited one former NSS employee and a serving agent of that organisation to implicate the Uffo young men in some form of anti-government pro-SNM activity.

It should be remembered at this juncture that, according to our informants, while these young men may have been generally opposed to the Siad Barre regime and were active in rehabilitating the Hargeisa hospital, they had no active plan to undermine the government or create an anti-government insurgency in Hargeisa. But the government was keen to implicate them in a "seditious" activity of that nature and it saw a role for Faisal there.

Faisal put his plan for implicating them into action through his NSS contacts. The latter infiltrated the Uffo group and brought an opposition pamphlet published in London to one of the meetings. All members of the group were soon put in prison and accused of organising anti-government activities in secret. The primary piece of evidence used against them was the pamphlet published in London, which the prosecutor claimed to have been typed at the Pepsi Cola factory in Hargeisa. They were summarily convicted of sedition by the National Security Court sitting in Hargeisa and presided by Mohamoud Gelleh. As many of us remember the riots in Hargeisa resulting from this conviction compelled the authorities to transfer the detainees to Mogadishu and to change their sentences to prison terms instead of death by firing squad.

It was Egal who gave Faisal a new lease of life when he brought him in from the wilderness by asking him to form a political party. Faisal was thrilled with the idea and formed the party while he was still shuttling back and forth between Finland and Somaliland. He was nurtured under the wings of Egal's administration until he could properly stand on his legs. Egal's aim was to use Faisal as a whipping boy to divide the opposition and break their ranks. He was chosen for the role because of his above mentioned former background.

When Egal died in May 2002 and Rayale became interim President, his first promise was that he would follow the path paved by his predecessor and that he would not deviate from the late president's policies. This statement comforted Faisal. Soon after this, Faisal was co-opted by Rayale into an alliance with UDUB when the two struck a secret pact of mutual support. The pact was intended to secure the government's moral and material support for Faisal's UCID during the elections while UCID would help the government party by breaking ranks with the opposition and toeing the government line in matters that required party consensus. Faisal reaped the dividends of that secret pact in the local government elections when UCID defeated all the other major parties headed by political heavy weights such as Omer Arteh Ghalib, Suleiman Mohamoud Adan and Dr Gaboose and unexpectedly won the third place after UDUB and KULMIYE. This earned UCID as the International Crisis Group (ICG) put it `.. the official political party status that many had anticipated would go to SAHAN'. Of course, as everyone knows, this position was won by the government's active collusion in rigging the votes in Salahley district in UCID's favour, where it was said to have won 23 000 votes in that small district which is the clan base of UCID's leader.

Faisal's closeness to UDUB was further revealed when he said in an ICG interview in Hargeisa after the presidential election: "We will be an opposition within the government". However when, according to ICG, Rayale chose not to form a coalition government with UCID, Faisal Ali Warabe went into a serious depression. After that he launched vitriolic attacks on the government and on one occasion threatened the President physically with violence. Many people found it rather odd and mysterious how Rayale who was recruiting former civil servants from the Siad era into his cabinet failed to be impressed with the credentials of Faisal who, according to the ICG, had been publicly accused of close ties with General Mohamed Hashi Gani, one of Barre's most notorious military commanders in the former Northwest Region of Somalia (today's Somaliland) at the height of the SNM struggle.

Faisal has always been relentless in his efforts to secure a cabinet post from Rayale's government as evidenced by the ICG. He set his sights on the Foreign Office, which was and still remains his favourite cabinet post to this day. However Faisal indicated that, if that was not available he was prepared to settle for his second best: the Ministry of Finance. Faisal went to an extra ordinary length when he suddenly dashed to Djibouti and met with Ismail Guelleh in an effort to impress upon him [Guelleh] to put pressure on Rayale so that he could be assigned to either of the above posts. But Rayale who is always keen to oblige Guelleh neverthelss resisted his pressure this time, because Edna was the only shining star in the motley collection of former spies and former Faqash informers in his cabinet.

When Rayale paid a visit to Great Britain, Faisal was waiting for the government entourage in London. Faisal invited Rayale to a dinner somewhere in London where Faisal was given $30,000 in cash in order to continue to work with UDUB. Also, it was some kind of compensatory award (xaal) for the series of little humiliations he suffered in the past. Rayale's policy is to use Faisal as an instrument to divide and conquer the opposition while at the same time keeping Faisal away from his cabinet at arm's length.

Faisal launched a scathing attack on the Kulmiye leader, Ahmed Silanyo, when according to the results of the rigged presidential election, he lost by a razor-thin margin. Faisal was hurling insults at Silanyo on the airwaves and in the newspaper columns almost everyday. He wanted Silanyo to drop his insistence on a recount of the votes. But strangely enough, Faisal's antics did not impress Rayale.

Faisal rejuvenated himself again and began to play a credible opposition and got into agreements with Kulmiye on a number of occasions only to renege on his promises later. One such example is his agreement with KULMIYE where Silanyo and Faisal jointly nominated Mohammed Hashi Elmi to the Electoral Commission. Faisal recanted this and switched to UDUB by nominating Ahmed Abdullahi Hoorri, the brother of the deceased commissioner, Mohamed Hoorri, in an effort to satisfy Rayale. Faisal's latest treachery against the other opposition party is his rejection of the demonstrations scheduled for 29th March. If he is for democracy and the holding of elections in Somaliland, why is he opposed to demonstrations that are intended to insure holding them? The answer is that he is treacherous and unreliable to the core.

By: Rage Ahmed Farah and Ali Bulhan Karshe

Source: February 26, 2005/by Yvette Lopez

The Children of HAN (Ururka Dumarka Naafada ah)

These children benefit from the efforts of HAN, the only organization of differently abled women in the country.

Last year, despite comments from cynics Anab, Nura, Istahil, Zeynab and Rhoda organized themselves into a group. Armed zeal and determination HAN raised issues faced by women with disabilities to government officials and challenged leaders of civil society organizations to respond to the multiple discrimination faced by the women in the disability sector.

Since then, HAN has been active in organizing programs and activities not only for women but for children as well. "Mobility shouldn't be an issue for children who wish to be educated." Anab remarked as she explained how HAN managed to rent a bus for $150.00 a month so these children are taken from their homes and brought to the small classroom HAN provides for their literacy class.

The children ages 4-7 attend Somali literacy classes provided by volunteer teachers who also come from other organizations of people with disabilities. In the afternoon the same bus takes adult disabled women to HAN office to learn to read and write in Somali. "We cannot stop, women and children should continue to get education" Anab added. She further explained that HAN was able to raise more than $1,000 from the $2,400 target amount to be able the organization to buy a bus of their own.

They have a long way to go in transforming HAN into a sustainable organization that would continue to provide services to women and children with disabilities. "We are new in managing an organization, we still have a lot to learn but we are trying very hard" quipped Nura, the financial officer of the group.

HAN is supported by ICD development workers by providing technical assistance to install financial systems, formulating their organizational policies and helping volunteer teachers to review their curriculum.

Source: Feb-23-2005.

Election Crisis In Somaliland

In most democracies, election is the process by which people vote for the candidate of their choice, and the basis of democratic government is that it's citizen have the rights to choose their official candidates who will govern them in the future. The democratic process permits it's citizens to vote by secret ballots, free from force or bribe, which also requires that election results be protected against dishonesty.

On the other side of the equation there are legal Election laws and other requirements that must be met during the Election Day, for example all the voters must bring the following items during the Election Day:
1. All voters must bring proof of Age
2. All voters must bring proof of Residence
3. All voters must bring proof of Citizenship

Practically, Somaliland's parliamentary Election laws are incomplete and nothing has been done about it in the last 4 years. There is a lot of irresponsibility within the system and a lot of dishonesty within the system as well; therefore any Election outcome from this unprepared and ill-equiped Election will be questionable (?)

Contrary to the general guidelines of the Election process in democratic countries, Somaliland's 3 National official parties plus Somaliland National Election commission has recently reached and signed an agreement which describes that the allocation of parliamentary seats in the upcoming Election will be based on the 1960's Election formula multiplied by the factor 2.5 for no apparent reason other than the increment of the number of seats from 33seats to 82 seats (from 1960-2005) or within that period of time.

By the same token, there is no valid reason why such an outdated formula is applied on the allocation parliamentary seats in the upcoming Election, when the demography of the whole country has changed, for example during the presidential Election of 2003,close to Quarter of million (250,000) eligible voters cast their votes in Northwest Region (Hargeisa Region) alone. More than 160,000 eligible voters cast their votes in Togdheer Region, while a little less than 60,000 eligible voters cast their votes in Adwal and Sanaag Region each.

About 30,000 eligible voters cast their votes in Sahal region, while no Election took place in Sool Region for political unrest.

These presidential Election results of the year 2003 are the only valid census sample that is available and can be used for fair Regional Representation in the forthcoming Parliamentary Election on March 29,2005. There is no other valid and fair option that can really translate a genuine Representation in the parliament.

Finally, the Somaliland Election Watch believes that the 1960's Election formula doesn't represent any facts or figures of any form of census that had taken place in our history. The organization also believes that the 1960's formula doesn't fit any place in the Election process, it is against the idea of One-man-One-vote, and it is also undemocratic; therefore it is unacceptable by the Majority of the people in Somaliland in the forthcoming Election.

Somaliland Election Watch, Mohamed Abdillahi Nur ( Chairman ) Ottawa ,Canada,

ETHIOPIA: Somali refugees return home from Ethiopia

ADDIS ABABA, 23 Feb 2005 (IRIN) - Some of the last remaining refugees who fled the civil war in Somalia during the 1990s have begun returning home from Ethiopia, the UN's refugee agency (UNHCR) said on Tuesday.

The agency said that 451 refugees were taken in a convoy on Monday to the border as they began their return to the self-declared republic of Somaliland. The refugees were from Aisha refugee camp, located in eastern Ethiopia, which UNHCR hopes to close by the middle of the year.

Aisha was one of only two camps remaining in Ethiopia for Somali refugees, said UNHCR spokeswoman Kitty McKinsey. The few remaining refugees in Aisha - who come from southern Somalia - will most likely be moved to the last camp, Kebribeyah. It is currently home to more than 10,000 refugees who cannot go home to Mogadishu and other areas in southern Somalia because of continuing lawlessness there.

Currently, there are 116,000 refugees in Ethiopia - the majority of whom are from Sudan. UNHCR has organised the repatriation of hundreds of thousands of refugees from Ethiopia to Somalia and expects an increase in the coming years. At present, refugees were returning to only two areas of the country - Somaliland and Puntland, in northwestern and northeastern Somalia, respectively.

"UNHCR has identified Somalia as one of eight countries in Africa where it expects to see significant refugee returns over the next four years if security remains stable and donor countries ensure adequate amounts of rehabilitation and reconstruction assistance," McKinsey added.

At one point in the early 1990s, there were eight refugee camps housing 628,000 Somali refugees. Some 400,000 refugees returned home from Ethiopia on their own even before UNHCR began, in 1997, to help refugees return to Somaliland voluntarily.

Some 250,000 have since gone home with UNHCR assistance and it is expected that by the middle of this year, all refugees from Somaliland will have left Ethiopia.

UNHCR also gave returnees plastic sheeting, blankets, jerry cans, kerosene stoves and nine months' supply of food to help them re-establish life back home.

Source: 21 February, 2005

UDUB, Unfortunately, Is Not The Only Troubled Party ...

Ahmed H. Nur - Oslo, Norway

In his recent talk with, Mr. Ali Osman Abdi (Cali Xaraare) told us, with adequate prove, that UDUB does not exist beyond the few persons, including the President, who use it for purposes of their own. We suspected that all along, but Osman 's revelation must be the final nail on UDUB's coffin. But UDUB, unfortunately, is not the only troubled Party. UCID shows all the signs of disarray and failing judgement.

Before I go further, here is a little street-logic for you. If I call you a fool and state my reasons for believing so, and you hit me back in the face and make my nose bleed, you will probably achieve one thing. Your physical violence may frighten me away from calling you a fool in future, but that will not make you a wise man. Will it? No. It won't. Even though I may in future guard my mouth in your vicinity, you are still a fool in my mind. What, however, will make you smart and earn you the respect of the audience is to counter-argue my assertions and try to disprove my allegations.

Dahir A Jama of London has recently published a well-stipulated article in which he criticised UCID and its role as opposition party. In my opinion, Dahir raised some very important points in his article. He substantiated his criticism with 3 incidences in which UCID's behaviour, and especially that of its leadership, are highly blameworthy, to put mildly. They are:

a) Djibouti and Somaliland 's unsymmetrical relationship and how UCID flip-flops between lending undivided support to the government and crying foul

b) How UCID gave in to the president's pressure and withdrew its support to Mohamed Hashi's candidacy to the Electoral Commission

c) The pro-government role UCID and its Chairman played during the government's crack-down on the "Caawa Caqli Keen" debates.

d) Another incident which Dahir could have drawn support from is how the leader of UCID blindly supported the heavy-handed jailing of Hassan Said, the Editor of Jamhuuriya. In a meeting in Abu Dhabi , sitting beside the Interior Minister of Somaliland, UCID's Chairman called the article which caused Hassan's arrest baseless and implied that the government's apprehension was justified. Dahir could go on and remind you how UCID's chairman initially resisted and denounced the government when they illegally stopped the civil societies' meetings in Burao in the summer of 2004, only to turn around a few days later and denounce the meetings.

In an elaborate and academic process, Dahir amply showed why UCID can be seen to be a brake to Somaliland 's young democracy. His was clear and articulate thesis, which deserved an intelligent discourse. Unfortunately however, UCID's leadership and spokes people reacted to Dahir's criticism hysterically. Sanjab, a man I respect, seems to have, this time, taken holidays from the faculty of reason and talks about "Shir Beleed" and how he fights its evil. Fine! I applaud Sanjab's efforts in the area but I really fail to see where it fits in Dahir's line of argument. I get even more lost when Sanjab turns around and defends their failure to support Mohamed Hashi's candidacy on the ground of "Beelo". Sanjab's circularity is not the only thing I am reacting to. The statement that the members of the Electoral Commission were created on "Beelo" basis is not true.

The other contributors to the crusade were even more devoid of rationality and resorted to attacking Dahir personally. The story of man who, upon being called a fool, attacked the owner of the message comes to mind! UCID's response to Dahir's article proves only one thing. The Party's lack of organisational fabric. It seems UCID, just like UDUB, consists of a few loud mouths here and there. Nothing more!

Source: 21 February, 2005

Post Conflict Education In Somaliland And The Recent Initiatives By UNICEF

Abdirahman Jama Ismail - Sweden

As an armed conflict proliferated many parts of the world, increasing numbers of children under the school age are exposed to the brutalities of war. In numerous countries, the structure of the educational system has been threatened. In some countries, boys and girls are recruited as child soldiers by armed groups, either forcibly or voluntarily.

In countries that are already poor, war tends to deteriorate economic and social conditions, thereby forcing families into further economic hardship, which directly influence the future of the children. As a result, children may face an uncertainty. Conflict is also most likely to disrupt children's education. When there are no schools to go, children are left with few alternatives and may easily become warriors, criminals, street children or the best alternative illiterate. When the war is over, countries usually face huge problems that are caused by the war, among others to re-establish and rehabilitate the entire countries educational system.

In the case of Somaliland, the societal chaos following the civil war between opposition and the government forces in early 1988 and the following instability until 1996, the entire schools system ceased to exist for all practical purposes. More than 90 % of the population became refugee in the neighbouring Ethiopia and Djibouti. The school buildings were either completely destroyed or seriously damaged.

However, the educational history of Somaliland went through various circumstances ranging from pre-colonial education of Koranic schools informal community education through the `modern' systematised `British style' system of education and episodes of total disintegration and destruction to the present day of post-conflict. As many scholars point out, colonial education was designed and pragmatically implemented for the administrative and low-level technical needs of the British imperial power. On the eve of Somaliland independence in the 1960, although there were several schools established by the British, especially boarding schools, educational provision were largely limited to primary level and were beyond the reach of the majority of people.

In the aftermath of the war, Somaliland and its society in general have arisen as viable and broadly peaceful state from the ashes left by the brutal regime of former president of Somalia. The decision to withdraw from the Somali union was made in May 1991. The new nation - albeit unrecognised as such internationally- held in both local and presidential elections respectively 2002 and 2003 and disputed, hopefully forthcoming parliamentary election. Somalilanders have good reason to be proud of these achievements and the international community has every reason to support them in their attempts to re-establish, re-built and develop their disintegrated education system.

For Somaliland, lack of recognition not caused only lack of access for bilateral agreements with governments around the world and international institutions like most debated ones World Bank and International Monitory Fund generally known (IMF). This situation caused as well prolonged uncertainty about their future and inhabited their ability to cope and complicated reconstruction and development efforts. But as the International Crisis Group (2003) describes lack of recognition was not always negative, the people of Somaliland developed a since of self-esteem that they rely on meagre resources that they have, and of course with the help of International Non Governmental Organisations.

Although Somaliland in the aftermath of the conflict moved toward the democratisation process and a level of rehabilitation, reconstruction and re-establishment of the education, starting from according to Ministry of Education (2002) 47 operational schools in 1991/2 to the present day of almost 400 operational schools, but still there are a lot of problems which need to be solved. One Somaliland child out of every five receives basic education (20 percent). Even among these, girls are more disadvantaged. Teachers have only recently started to receive a one-time standardised in-service training, and while no new teachers have completed pre-service training over the last 15 years, the number of untrained teachers grows every year. Only 11.1 out of every hundred teachers are women. Neither education authorities nor community education committees are able to support adequate education services such as the remuneration of teachers.

As experts' recommended to the government (Ministry of Education, 1999) an important indicator of the commitment of nations to education and a determinant of the quality of its education is the percentage of revenue generated by central government that is devoted to the education. The annual budget (2002) for the Ministry of Education is 2 percent of the total revenue in a country which is the poorest among the poorest countries. In the same report experts recommended the government of Somaliland, in order to lead the nation in rebuilding and develop its devastated education system, the government should a set a target of 20 percent of total revenue to reach 30 percent by 2010. The question is how the recent administration addressed this issue.

The main challenge is not only according to my understanding an inadequate resource, but equally, how the government priorities the multiple needs faced by post-conflict Somaliland and to fight against corruption., which is a problem inherited from former Somali governments that Somaliland was part of it: `political leaders have instead seemed intent on resuscitating centralised, patrimonial system of political elite often smacks of arrogance an paternalism; the rule of law is weak, corruption is endemic and nepotism still pervades political and administration appointments' (International Crisis Group, 2003: 8). The recent visit of the Somaliland president to United Kingdom, March 2004 in an interview he was asked, `Why you didn't tackle the corruption in your country?' His answer was `the country is empty and there is nothing to corrupt'!!! The old ways die hard.

As the Jesper Moreh UNICEF representative in Hargaysa mentioned `no nation can afford not invest in there education of its children. Understandably, Moreh preferred to say the president and his cabinet knows that. But knowing a problem is one thing, and to solve it is another matter, in another word attention is not achievement.

Although the recent programme initiated by the UNICEF to increase the number of children attending primary schools by 33,000 within the 18 months and to improve the quality of education in Somaliland must be encouraged and appreciated. But reality is, it seems that the people of Somaliland have long way to go in order to achieve an acceptable level of justice, transparency and access to basic education for all. The reason is that when you have a government which doesn't priorities the education and other social developments, unpopular transparency, more than 60% of population are illiterate; economy is underdeveloped and unrecognised country with no bilateral agreement with other country. Farther more as mentioned just around 20% of school aged children have an access to primary education. Another major challenge is that about 50-60% of the population are still nomads or half nomad which requires especially attention and arrangement for their educational needs.

In spite of all above mentioned pessimistic discussion, this does not, however, mean that there has been no progress and development in the education sector. Since 1991/2 the education system has undergone a significant rehabilitation and rebuilding. The numbers of primary schools have increased at an average annual rate of 15 % and now stand at almost 400 schools. In another survey it revealed that the annual enrolment rate exceeded the pre-war level of 34,300 children to present day of more than 97.000. In addition the number of teachers, who get their salaries from the government increases by 13% from 2001/2 to the 28% for the 2002/3, besides the support provided by the community.

In summery, there is a need for leadership and political will by the policy and decision makers to initiate transformation and lasting change. There are good reasons to review the government's education policy. The Ministry of Education have to formulate balanced and realistic program for the education in Somaliland. Not just wait and relay on the aid agencies. The Somaliland people have a lot to offer in the diversification and development of the educational system and other social services.

Abdirahman Jama Ismail (Jamaal) Uppsala University, Department of Education

Source: Feb 20 2005/ The Somaliland Times

Editorial: The Irresponsible African Union

After failing to provide Abdillahi Yusuf with the troops he had requested, the African Union (AU) gave permission to IGAD countries to send troops to Somalia. This decision speaks volumes about what is wrong with the African Union. The least that can be said about it is that it shows a gross dereliction of duty. No concern was shown by the AU for the fact that IGAD countries have their own agendas and some of them have a history of conflict with Somalia. The AU does not seem to have given much thought to the possibility that once IGAD countries enter Somalia, they may not want to leave, thus subjecting Somalia to permanent occupation. The views of many people in the south, particularly in Mogadishu, the majority of whom do not want any foreign troops, were not given enough consideration either. The only entity that is being consulted on the subject is the government-in-exile.

Since Somalia was a member of the AU for decades, it is difficult to say that the AU's decision was due to ignorance; which leaves us with the more likely explanation: fed up with the Somalis' inability to solve their problems, the AU finally decided that Somalia deserved to be tossed to its neighbors to do with it whatever they want.

We understand the frustrations of dealing with Somalia's intractable problems, but the AU's decision allowing IGAD troops to enter Somalia will probably make a bad situation much worse. That's why the AU decision is not only irresponsible but also immoral.

Source: Feb 17 2005

Planning of Diplomatic Missions

I have previously questioned the manner in which foreign excursions of the President and/or his ministers were undertaken as I was of the view that all the trips were not yielding the purported aims. And my point of contention was the sheer absence of a clear goal oriented programme.

Ministers were sent abroad with very vague idea of what they were supposed to achieve or what issues to address. Ironically the ill preparation of such foreign trips may have dented our image as serious alternative arrangement to the perennial fratricide that is Somalia.

I was extremely at a loss to understand why our government shied away from bringing to use the abundant technocrat resource we have in the Diaspora. A pocket of Somalilanders are found all over the world and some may have invaluable contacts, linguistic advantages and insider view of the working of their respective host or adopted countries establishment that may be brought to bear in making such foreign diplomatic trips worthwhile. But again and again, our leaders who venture abroad seemed contended with their repeated fruitless foreign trips.

These failures are not only costly in terms of the opportunity lost but also drain our meagre tax resource.

The recent trip by the President to South Africa seems to depart from this general scenario. His speech was well researched and depicted a serious President who is campaigning for the democratic of his people. And for that I cannot but extend my warmest congratulation to all who participated in the substantive and protocol arrangement of the trip.

Both the government and the Diaspora have a duty to advance the image of Somaliland abroad. It is important that we acknowledge tha our nascent government cannot afford the requisite diplomatic infrastructure that is normally available to independent countries.

Hence the use of "free agent" Somalilanders abroad is a matter of necessity. And this could be achieved through an open and inclusive participation in the execution of such diplomatic missions.

The Author: Ahmed Aideed, Namanga. Authors Email:

Source: Feb 17 2005

Yusuf Haji Aden Was a Great Educationist

Yusuf Haji Aden was a great educationist. He was one of the founders and promoters of Somaliland education. He was multi-skilled as a teacher, poet, diplomat and was role model for all Somalilanders who benefited from the education system that he and his colleagues, including Ahmed Mohamed Ali, Yusuf Ismail Samater "Gandi" and Ahmed Shire, poneered in Somaliland with formidable opposition by the their own people - Somalilanders. Through their commitment, tenacity, teamwork, hard work and above all personal sacrifice and honesty Yusuf and his colleagues successfully managed shifting the paradigm and introduced modern education to Somaliland.

Managing change at a society level is not an easy task but Yusuf and his colleagues tacticully and skillfully applied a bottom-up approach by starting schools with their immediate relatives. They did not applied top-down approach but knowing their society and culture they positively utilised the norms and values acceptable within the society in order to achieve their mission which they did at the end. This is a classical example of effective leadership and no doubt Yusuf and his colleagues are great leaders to learn from and inspire to.

Yusuf was a poet and because of his lyrics, stories, and humer he was instrumental in motivating his colleagues and was the `glue' within the group. Through his poems, songs and story telling the group were able to communicate with the masses - speaking the lanugaue their people know without arrogance and elitism.

I had the opportunity to share with Yusuf three wonderful occasions:

First : The day I was enrolled in the elementary school in Somaliland

Second: July 1997 in Tower Hamlets College, London. This occasion was organised by The Somali Oxford House and Anglo Somali Society for an event to thank the pioneers of Somaliland Education. I was invited by Dr Saad Ali Shire and Dr Yusuf Omer to give a lecture on Developing Modern Education for Somaliland. Yusuf Haji Aden and RR Darlinton attended the event and were the guests of honour.

Third: Three years I attended an event organised by Fosia Haji Aden in which she presented the biography of her father. I travelled from Cardiff to London for this important event and I learnt a lot about the life of Yusuf, which he lived to the full.

One of the strategic objectives of Somaliland Societies in Europe (SSE) is to collect and record the history of Somaliland. SSE will make sure that Yusuf and other great Somalilanders' history and achievements to be recorded for the young and posterity Insha Allah.

In the name of SSE Executive and members, I am sending my deepest condolences to his family and relatives and all the people of Somaliland. May Allah bless his soul and give him mercy and peace. Amin.

Eid Alislan Ahmed

Source: February 19, 2005

SSE Conference: Somaliland Diaspora and their Role in Somaliland Development

Somaliland Societies in Europe. International Conference: Making a Difference - Somaliland Diaspora and their Role in Somaliland Development, 1st - 7th Sept 2005=

London, United Kingdom--In this historically important day that we Somalilanders where ever we are commemorating the 23rd Anniversary of Dhgax Tuur (Throwing Stones) day 20th February 2005, on behalf of SSE Executive Committee and members I am pleased to announce an International Conference and Grand Exhibition to be organised by Somaliland Societies in Europe (SSE). The Conference and the Grand Exhibition will be held in London in the 1st week of September 2005.

This International Conference is unique and the first of its kind to be held outside Somaliland at an international level. It is intended to raise the profile of the Somaliland Communities in Europe and Somaliland and to discuss the role the Diaspora play and could play in the Development of Somaliland.

The strategic aims of the conference include:

1. To demonstrate the success story of Somaliland and the long overdue dividend of Peace in Somaliland i.e. recognition: Somaliland deserves Noble Peace Prize and not only recognition

2. To explore the role Diaspora play and could play in the Development of Somaliland.

3. To raise the profile of the Somaliland Communities in Europe and the role of SSE.

Brief Programme (1st Week of Sept 2005):

1st - 3rd Sept International Conference on Somaliland & Somaliland Communities in Europe 1st - 7th Sept Grand Exhibition by Somaliland Organisations & Communities in Europe and Somaliland 4th Sept SSE Business - AGM

Against all odds Somaliland and its people have successful managed to overcome the destruction carried out by the military dictatorship. Now Somaliland is a country of peace, freedom, equality and enterprise. As far as 15th August 2000 The Financial Times reported, " It (Somaliland) could serve as a model for Africa: peaceful, stable, little crime, no debt, a liberal economic regime as of this month, a multi-part electoral system".

SSE is primarily a network organisation and its vision is "to bring together and utilise the skills and resources of its members, Somaliland organisations and communities in Europe".

SSE's Strategic Objectives include:

1. To promote the development and empowerment of Somaliland communities in the widest terms and improve the quality of life for all Somalilanders inclusively;

2. To promote recording and documenting, understanding and respect for the history of Somaliland and its people and institutions;

3. To develop and expand the range and quality of skills of all Somalilanders, particularly with respect to the changes which are taking place in the employment opportunities available;

4. To aim to overcome any physical, social, religious and cultural barriers that may restrict access to education, training, employment and enterprise opportunities;

5. To identify and promote opportunities for education, training, employment and enterprise;

6. To expand participation in, social. recreational, leisure, sports and educational activities through the development of existing facilities and additional provisions;

7. To encourage all Somalilanders to take social and economic responsibility for their well-being;

8. To facilitate and help the integration of Somaliland communities into the wider communities in each European country;

9. To encourage Somalilanders to speak up for themselves, identify their needs and suggest action priorities and promote and develop working partnerships and strategic alliance between all those institutions, agencies and organisations interested in the Somaliland communities in order to co-ordinate action and pool resources and to gain access to resources at local, national and European level;

10. To promote and facilitate the involvement of all interested parties, particularly civic representatives, agencies, and voluntary organisations, in the initiation, consultation, design, implementation and management of development and regeneration projects at local, national and European level;

11. To co-ordinate projects and initiatives of Somaliland communities and organisations and all interested parties so that the aspirations of Somalilanders are met inclusively;

12. To link and liaise with indigenous and International and Somaliland NGOs and Institutions and whenever and wherever possible work in partnership with them and transferring and sharing know-how, expertise and knowledge with them;

13. To carry out research studies and disseminate findings and good practices;

14. To promote, publicise and market the achievement of Somaliland, its people and institutions in the International Community

15. To lobby for more resources and development grants for Somaliland Communities in Europe and those in Somaliland.

16. To be vigilant about the on going Somaliland democratisation process and challenge any undemocratic obstruction and hindrance instigated by individual (s) and or groups in this democratisation process.

SSE is an umbrella organisation and is in its formative years. The idea to form SSE took place in 2001 in Holland (The Hague), but it was formulised and structured in 2003 again in Holland (Utrich).

Now it has members in all European Countries and the membership is open to all Somaliland Organisations and Communities in Europe. The SSE Website is under construction and will be on-line shortly Insha Allah.

The full programme and more details on the International Conference will be released in the near future: watch out and mark your diary - don't miss it.

Eid Alisalan Ahmed, Chairman, SSE ,

Democratic Steps Under Threat in Somaliland

Pambazuka News 194: Fahamu (Oxford) February 17, 2005
A Weekly Electronic Forum For Social Justice In Africa

Steve Kibble And Adan Abokor

'We used to think that women could not do the same things as men, due to religion. But now we no longer believe that. We are glad that women will stand for Parliament and [dramatic pause] we will vote for them'. - A member of the House of Aqils (local community leaders who administer justice) at a meeting with Catholic Institute for International Relations (CIIR) in December 2004.

The independent but internationally unrecognised state of Somaliland (North West Somalia) is due to hold parliamentary elections in March/ April 2005. This should be the most important phase of its democratisation process, marking the change from a clan-based and government-dominated polity with little effective parliamentary opposition. Such a polity has shown little intervention in social areas, and seemingly little commitment to overcoming gender and other non-clan inequalities. The regularisation of political representation in parliament could provide additional support in resolving conflict peacefully. Somalilanders see this as vital in avoiding a return to the instability that has plagued Somaliland and Somalia in the past. It could also mean that burgeoning Somaliland civil society will be able to campaign on and monitor government policies and spending. However recent decisions of MPs have made the progress of democratisation uncertain and the elections liable to delay. Uncertainty also continues in (South) Somalia despite the latest (and fifteenth) version of peace and a new government.

Somaliland, having decided unilaterally in 1991 to end its commitment to its union with Somalia, determined in the late 1990s to embark on a process of democratisation. For some Africanists this is seen as an interesting experiment which deserves greater study (and support) in its incorporation of democratic values within a well understood and traditionally-based social structure. A referendum in 1999, local elections in 2002 and a presidential election in 2003 all contributed to this process. There have been some setbacks, notably in the government's incomplete and seeming reversible compliance with human rights standards, shown by the arrest of journalists and its perceived leaning on the judiciary. Authoritarian responses by the Hargeisa government to some of its critics such as the gaoling of journalists like Hassan Saeed, show lack of respect for human rights and the constitution. Illegal public safety committees are believed to exist. The recent gaoling for 'treason' of a 16 year old girl, Zamzam Ahmed Dualeh, on minimal evidence shows both the fragility of the democratisation process and the paranoia about security.

Somalilanders are though, rightly concerned about statements from the new Somalia President, Abdullahi Yusuf Ahmed suggesting that Somaliland be forcibly reincorporated into Somalia. When military leader of Puntland, the semi-autonomous territory to the east of Somaliland, tensions ran high between the two territories, especially Puntland's occupation of Somaliland territory in Sool in October 2004.

Although not linked, the killings of three foreigners in October 2003 meant that personnel of international organisations have had to travel with armed guards from the Special Protection Unit (SPU). Despite the security precautions, on a visit in December 2004, the country seemed peaceful and people can travel round.

This democratisation process has therefore both internal and international dimensions with the strategy of increased democratisation bringing hoped-for de jure international recognition (it can be argued that there is some minimal de facto recognition). There is within this an often explicit comparison between the chaotic, internationally-funded (and located) and expensive process to the south in Somalia and the home-grown, traditionally-rooted process in Somaliland.

Three political parties - Kulmiye ('Bringing Together'), UCID ('Justice and Welfare') and the governing UDUB ('Democratic United Peoples Movement') party will contest the elections. The first describes itself as 'social democratic', the second as 'like the British Labour Party' and the third as 'conservative', although all are parties in formation rather than cohesive political and ideological units. Indeed UCID told us that it characterised the other two as one party split in two. Kulmiye (whose office was packed out, unlike the other two) appears to have strong support from women and youth, and from the old liberation fighters in the Somali National Movement (SNM). It also has a strong base in the diaspora - with UDUB fending off questions on the governing party using the advantages of incumbency by stressing the greater amount of remittances going to its major rival. Neither of the opposition parties saw the National Electoral Commission (NEC), as biased, rather stressing the commissioners' lack of experience and the problems they face. The parties expected a free election - i.e. in terms of the overall context, but were less convinced over the fairness (i.e. the conditions around the actual election). Both stressed the need for change, their commitment to human rights as well as security, ensuring sovereignty, the environment and overcoming economic decline especially unemployment. Somalilanders say that as the international community is pushing for democratic norms and practice in Africa, it should support them not least in observing an expected reasonably free and fair election. Previous elections according to international observers (such indeed as our own institute) have proved peaceful, reasonably free and fair and enthusiastically welcomed.

However the delicacy of the situation for others does present problems for Hargeisa. In contrast to 2002, the EU and member states appear less keen to show their support - financial or moral - for these elections. This appears linked to their equally important funding of and desire to see success in the Mbagathi government- building process in (Southern) Somalia and worries that the new 'government' (still investigating where to relocate to in Somalia) will react negatively to funding for the Somaliland parliamentary elections. Additionally the Somaliland government is only willing/ able to provide 30% of the projected budgetary costs of the election due to a decline in revenues and increased military expenditure due to the Somaliland/ Puntland dispute. A scaled down election may be possible, although 6-7,000 people will still be needed to run any kind of election. The Danish government has agreed to provide a consultant to work with the National Electoral Commission (NEC), following British funding of a consultant to work on a draft electoral code.

As well as external constraints, there are also internal differences. There was an initial unwillingness, as there was in 2002 by political parties to accede to demands for women candidates to be placed towards the top of party lists - the closed party list system operates, due at least in part to widespread illiteracy. Whilst complete gender equity is unlikely, there was in the draft electoral law a formula, although seemingly under threat from traditionalists, that would enshrine the right of women to be candidates in the top 5 of the party lists without the constitution being breached. All three political parties claimed to us that they had shifted position on accepting (and publicly welcoming) women candidates since 2002. The women's umbrella body, NAGAAD, is keen to keep plugging away on gender representation questions following up on their campaigning and lobbying in media, and meetings with government and parliament. There has been training of women candidates in the political parties.

Other civil society organisations have committed to helping in the electoral process as indeed have the Aqils (local community leaders who administer justice at dir (sub clan) level). Both wish to promote peaceful elections through civic/ voter education, encouraging communities to vote and help organise neutral help for the blind, illiterate etc in polling stations. One leading local NGO, the Academy for Peace and Development has committed its staff to election-related work until the election period finishes. It is involved in discussions with the Parliament and the political parties, including the parties signing up to a voluntary code of conduct. NAGAAD, having had experience in the last two elections, expects to coordinate local observer groups with COSONGO, the national NGO umbrella, and to run civic education programmes dividing up the country east and west as they did in 2002 and 2003.

The opposition parties and sections of the populace allege that parliamentarians, especially those allied to UDUB, have more commitment to their own stay in power than to the democratisation process. The recent electoral law passed in early February 2005 by parliament calling unrealistically for a census and full registration process does little to overcome that perception. Many Somalilanders also expect UDUB to lose to Kulmiye. President Riyale has though told parliament to pass the electoral code as a matter of urgency, and informed at least one would-be foreign donor of the commitment of the government to the electoral process. The implication is that without substantial funding there will be a cut-price election where the free and fair nature of the election will be under threat or at least demand a great deal of consensus. Given the circumstances of the 2003 presidential election where Kulmiye lost by a small margin, claiming that it had in fact won but was prepared for the sake of the nation to accept the result, such consensus is unlikely to be forthcoming. This is especially the case if due to the electoral law, the process has to be delayed. At the time of writing we still await the reaction of the NEC and indeed the President to the practically impossible conditions set by Parliament if elections are to go ahead within less than two months.

A general worry therefore is that if there is not an election the one stable part of 'greater Somalia' will relapse from the democratic path, thereby rendering useless the internal and international goodwill, investment and work that has been undertaken so far. The less the technical conditions are perfect, the more the NEC and others have to rely on mutual goodwill and argued for consensus. These will be the first direct parliamentary elections in greater Somalia for 35 years. Somaliland still has a long path to go towards democratisation (which is a process rather than an event after all); the parliamentary elections and a new parliament (and possibly government) open up great opportunities for civil society. It can be empowered to seek greater government accountability, and a constructive but critical engagement with government on key issues in society, economy and polity - not least human rights, development, issues like HIV/AIDS, and greater commitment to gender equality and opportunity.

Whilst Somaliland vaunts its home-grown approach, it is also desperately aware of its need for international assistance which up till now has been forthcoming. The situation is now complicated not just by the new electoral law, but by its usual funders being engaged with the process in (southern) Somalia and the sensitivities of those it is engaging with down there. However, outside donors can make a lot of difference with small amounts of money. Indeed Somalilanders told us that they do not want assistance beyond their capacity to control and monitor such outside resources. They do stress, however, that the international community has wanted Somaliland to take the 'good governance' path and there is need for support from those suggesting that path.

The worry is that without support the cash-strapped government will not be able to run an election that can be shown to be free and fair and therefore that instability will result from this. Given the internal and external commitment to stability in Somaliland and the general climate amongst donors (inside and outside of the NEPAD and Commission for Africa processes) to push for 'good governance' and democracy in the continent, this would be an opportunity squandered. The fragility of this region cannot be overstressed - something that Somaliland parliamentarians also need to reflect upon.

* Steve Kibble is Africa/iYemen Advocacy Officer at CIIR. Adan Abokor is the Country Representative of International Cooperation for Development, the name by which CIIR's skillshare programme is known in certain countries. * Please send comments to:

Source: afrol News,, 16 February 2005

Worst of Somaliland drought is over

After more than three years of drought in eastern Somaliland, abundant and well distributed winter rains have led to excellent harvests. The region however still has to recover from the long drought and an estimated 500,000 people in Somaliland and Somalia remain in a state of food crisis.

According to the latest report on food security in Somalia and Somaliland by the agency Food Security Analysis Unit Somalia (FSAU), the "exceptionally good 2004/05 Deyr rains" have led to above average cereal production in most cropping areas. The Deyr rains are annual short rains between November and January that are of great importance to agriculture and livestock in the dry Horn region.

In Somaliland and neighbouring northern Somalia, the 2004/05 Deyr rains had ended the more than three year drought cycle in the region, FSAU says. In Somaliland, especially the troubled eastern Sool and Sanaag provinces - which are partly occupied by Somalia - had been hardest hit, but also the central Todgheer province in 2004 started to note the effects of the long drought.

Cumulative rainfall during this Deyr season had been 160 to 300 percent more than the normal rainfall performance in Somaliland and much of Somalia. Satellite photos had shown that the current vegetation cover is denser than usually at this time of year. The above normal rains had renewed the crippled pasture and water sources in pastoral and agricultural areas throughout the country. This was especially needed in Sool and Sanaag, where water sources for humans and livestock had dried up.

In Somaliland, two harvests are now above average. The Karan 2004 cereal production harvest, in December 2004, in the western, less drought-affected agro-pastoral provinces of Awdal, Galbeed and Togdheer had also been good. Harvests here were estimated at 17,100 metric tonnes, which is 117 percent of the post-war average, according to the FSAU report. Further, the post-Deyr harvests are set to be above average.

However, an estimated 500,000 people in Somalia and Somaliland "still remain in a state of humanitarian emergency or livelihood crisis," according to the definitions used in the FSAU report. These groups were said to "require immediate humanitarian assistance in the form of resource transfers and livelihood support," the report added.

The continued need for livelihood support in Somaliland and northern Somalia was due to the multiple shocks in this region. Eastern Somaliland had been victim to drought, freezing rains and armed conflict. Northern Somalia additionally had been locally hit by the December tsunami and flooding.

Combined with the extent of environmental degradation, cumulative livestock deaths, high levels of indebtedness and widespread destitution, this would lead to "a considerable lag time before most pastoralists will begin to recover." How long it would take for these pastoralists to recover and who would be able to recover, would "largely depend on the outcome of the 2005-2006 Gu and Deyr seasons," the FSAU report said.

The number of people requiring immediate humanitarian assistance was however starting to drop slowly in Somaliland and northern Somalia. In mid-2004, there were an estimated 58,000 people in a state of humanitarian emergency and 160,000 persons in a state of livelihood crisis in eastern Somaliland. The estimates after the Deyr rains have dropped to 52,000 and 115,000 respectively.

For the livestock trade, Somaliland's principal export, the crisis however seems to have ended with more permanent damages. The number of sheep and goats exported in 2004 is similar to that of 2003, but remains far below the numbers exported prior to the livestock ban of 1998, following an animal outbreak.

A new shift in export patterns is further set to concern Somaliland authorities. In 2005, Bosasso port exported the bulk of animals from Somalia and Somaliland, which is a shift from the pre-livestock ban time when Berbera was the main port of export. Bosasso is located in the Puntland region of Somalia - which occupies parts of the Sool and Sanaag provinces - while Berbera is Somaliland's main port.

By staff writer, c afrol News

SOMALIA: Heavy rains end three-year drought, but cause destruction - NGOs

Source: IRIN NAIROBI, 18 February (IRIN) - Heavy rains in Somalia over the past year have ended a drought cycle that had lasted more than three years, but have also led to flooding, livestock deaths and civil unrest, according to the Food Security Analysis Unit of Somalia (FSAU).

"In northern Somalia, the 2004-2005 Deyr rains have ended the three-year drought cycle in the region, but have given multiple shocks," FSAU said in their monthly assessment of food security and nutrition in Somalia.

"Combined with the extent of environmental degradation, cumulative livestock deaths - an estimated 84,000 people require immediate humanitarian assistance and another 158,000 require livelihood support," the report added.

The brief, compiled in collaboration with the USAID-funded Famine Early Warning Systems Network, also said that while rains in central Somalia had been fairly good, civil insecurity and unrest had distorted markets and limited access to grazing and other resources in the region. An estimated 61,000 people in central Somalia were in need of humanitarian assistance, according to the report.

In southern Somalia, the rains led to a much-needed recovery in most of the region. Pastoralists had benefitted from renewed pasture and water, while livestock productivity and migration patterns returned to normal.

The statement reported, however, that the heavy nature of the rains led to a very poor maize production season in the southern areas of Juba and Shabelle. The southern regions of Juba Riverine and northern Gedo, according to FSAU, remained in a state of "continuing and severe humanitarian emergency, affecting an estimated 195,000 people".

FSAU called for immediate longer-term humanitarian support for the two areas, which have been beset by chronic food insecurity and malnutrition.

The brief also noted that an estimated 376,000 internally displaced persons, scattered throughout 34 settlement camps in Somalia, were a vulnerable group in need of assistance. Somalia has been plagued by severe drought for several years at a time the country had no legitimate government. In October 2004, a transitional federal government was chosen, which, it is hoped, will ultimately improve food and livelihood security for its vulnerable populations.

Source: Feb 04 2005

The conditions for a free and fair election are a matter of crucial importance to the democratisation of Somaliland.

Free and fair elections requires that

a) Every adult of sound mind shall be free to contest an election and to campaign for votes, to register as a voter (if registration is possible for all citizens), to choose the candidate for to cast his vote and vote accordingly, uninhibited and unimpeded by official interference, discrimination on the grounds tribe, group, sex, wealth, religion, and so on, by physical restraint, intimidation, bribery, treating, undue influence or other such factors that endanger his personal security or otherwise obstruct his freedom of action.

b) There is equality between the voters, none being allowed to cast more than one vote or to have greater weight attached to his vote.

c) Political parties are free to sponsor candidates and canvass for votes in a truly competitive sense.

d) The territorial units of representation are demarcated as to be nearly equal in population as possible and so as not to favour some people against the others.

e) Those entrusted with the conduct of an election are not agents of, or are not subject to direction by, any of the contestants.

f) The contest is conducted according to the laid down rules accepted by all as binding- whether they are the parties or the individuals.

g) The contest is in fact conducted impartially, giving no advantage to one candidate against another.

h) The results are based on, and truly reflect the votes lawfully cast at the election by the voters and free from falsification, inflation or other fraudulent manipulation of figures.

i) A majority or the highest number of such lawful votes determines the winner.

While the constitution and the electoral laws can grantee the conditions in (a) ... (e) above, they can not guarantee that the individuals will not in pervert the established electoral process and rig an election (I hope this will not be the case in Somaliland).

Yet to secure these conditions must be the concern of the democratisation. For there is no democracy unless and until they are secured. Securing them is more a matter of inculcating the democratic spirit among the people, rulers, and the ruled alike.

Among the greatest challenges of democracy in Africa and some other developing counties in the world today are wholesale electoral malpractices. The people of Somaliland lived up to the conditions of free and fair election in the last two elections and sure they will do so in this upcoming election.

In the last presidential election Kulmiye party determined to exert itself to utmost to win it. Each party professed its desire to make the contest free and fair and the people are hopeful that it will be. From the standpoint of the political parties and their candidates, rigging deprives election from its character as a competition in which all the contestants can equally aspire to win.

Elections are the peoples ultimate and most effective weapon for enforcing a governments responsibility and accountability to it.

Clean political culture is the benefit of all parties and the people. Without a free competition for power politics loses its essence.

The Author: Mohamed .M.Adan ( Lenin). Authors Location: Oslo, Norway

Source: Dec 12 2004

The Government of Somaliland response to amnesty accusation

Hargeisa(The Rep)- The government of Somaliland responds to Amnesty accusations regarding the case of Samsam Ahmed Du'ale and Osman Jama Warsame. Somaliland forum urges Appeal Court to release 4 defence lawyers sentenced to 3 year prison .

Ministry of Justice in its first reaction against criticism by Amnesty International and African Rights stated that the 2 suspects who re in custody have all the rights as other prisoners and are allowed to be visited by their families, lawyers and human rights organizations and that they will be released if not found guilty .

The statement from the ministry of Justice states that Somaliland has no special courts to oppress people and that the judiciary system has no place for forced confession, to be used against suspected people and that those sentenced have the right to appeal to higher courts against any sentence

Speaking about the age of Samsam, who claims to be raped while in custody, but whom the government accuses of being suspected of conspiracy and espionage said, " Amnesty and African Rights give her age as 16 and 17 respectively, but that she had told the court that she is 18 years old and as such that she will be treated as a mature and not as an under age'

Regarding the beating and torture while in custody the ministry responded saying, "The court sent them for medical investigation and check up and that the doctors have declared that the 2 suspects were not beaten, nor tortured and that Samsam was not raped."

The Justice Ministry response also states that Amnesty International and African Rights based their accusation on rumours in the city and statements by individuals who are the enemies of the country and who made condemning the country their business."

The statement reiterated that the propaganda given to the case and the 2 reports will have negative consequences on the girl for traditionally she will be segregated by the community and that clan vengeance might follow such publicity.

The ministry in its response stated that the government supports the right for civic society organizations to assist in the implementation of justice, that individuals have the right to assemble and join any social, economic or political organizations. But The statement added "These rights assisted the formation of organizations who have no clear cut obligations and who have misused these rights".

The ministry calls on civic societies to avoid what the ministry referred to as the overuse of these rights, to respect the law of the country and to avoid being an obstacle for the performance of Justice in the country. In conclusion the statement tanks the US, UK, Norway, Sweden as well as UN and other International organizations who assist raising human Rights in the country.

Mean while Somaliland Forum, an Intellectual organization in the diaspora in an urgent message to the Appeals Court, requested the immediate release of the 4 defence lawyers, who were sentenced to 3-year prison on November 24/04.

Somaliland Forum in its request stated that the Penal Code applied in sentencing the 4 lawyers to be outdated. It added saying, "The suspects should not loose the right to have legal defence, that the sentence against the lawyers is severe and that disciplinary measure would have been sufficient.

Somaliland Forum concluded its request by reminding the judiciary that the quick decision taken against the defence have affected the prestige of the country abroad.

Source: Dec 12 2004

The World Is Watching!

by A. Mohamed Ali Xaashi `Dhimbiil' ,

For the past few weeks and months I have been closely following a story in Hargeisa about a young woman accused of espionage and the attempted murder of the second most senior official in the executive branch of our government - the Vice President. I/others subsequently went into disbelief as reports and allegations surfaced about the alleged rape and torture of this young woman and the swirling accusations and counter-accusations between the accused, civil rights groups and the police department in Hargeisa. Everyone is scandalized by these allegations and there is a sense of deep abhorrence and disgust given the cultural and religious issues the underline the grim charges made against elements of the police force in Hargeisa.

Somali Landers inside the country and in the diasporas, particularly because of the history of cruelty and exploitation by government forces of the civilian population in Somaliland during the dictatorship, naturally, have followed the story in great detail. Nobody knows for sure the facts surrounding the case; no one knows who is telling the truth. Indeed, everyone should be presumed innocent until proven guilty in a court of law: elemental as it may seem, it is fundamental that an open court tries this case because and hopefully, when we hear the facts of this case in this framework we will have precedent for other court cases and indeed solidify our commitment to seeing justice done.

Many Somali Landers concerned about the judicial process in the country and committed to the growth of a justice system as part of our obligation to the democratic process, felt that this was an important case - given the paranoia about terrorism in Somaliland and around the world, including the danger of governments to erode civil rights guaranteed by law. Clearly, everyone was waiting for the truth to come out through a fair and transparent process - what is generally referred to as the administration of justice - and the whole country was watching this case with particular interest given the extraordinary events that surround this case.

Rakiya Omaar, in a piece published widely, spoke to the serious political climate that hangs over the case and the potential embarrassment that the government may suffer if rogue officers of the police force are found to have abused the civil and political rights of the accused. The massive police operation around the court and its environs suggests that the government is taking this issue seriously and the fact that this case has been brought to court is testament to the hard work and dedication of the lawyers who have worked tirelessly to help defend the accused. As well, the president himself has said that the executive has no interest in this case and the judiciary is free to try this case with due diligence and due process.

It would be the understatement of the year to say that the arrest and subsequent detention of the lawyers defending the accused by a sitting judge in Hargeisa has brought disrepute to the judicial process in Somaliland. If, and the operating word is if, the judge was/is cow-towing to political pressure inside and outside the court; if there is political interference with the proceedings of this court, Somaliland is in peril and our democratic gains in the past years would have been reversed.

The lawyers detained by the court are first and foremost officers of the court and belong to a club of people whose traditions and laws are quite different from other professional groups. Judges and Lawyers are entrusted with defending matters of life and death; they are the intellectual and ethical bolts and nuts of the judicial system. Without lawyers, without judges, the administration of justice would be non-existent for it is these professions that articulate and argue what our laws and regulations are all about.

Rakiya Omaar's reporting of the events in the court house has stunned everyone with even the most modest sense of outrage. Detaining lawyers without trial and subsequently dispensing sentences that must be called outrageous, reminds every one of the military courts that operated in Hargeisa at the height of the dictatorship. In fact, many have been writing and complaining about the judiciary and its lack of independence from the political wing of the government for many years now - yours truly included. Many cases and many instances of interference from the executive have been the order of the day. Corruption and lack of professionalism has also been widely cited as root causes of the current crisis.

At the outset we must not equate this issue with whether this particular issue is happening elsewhere, many have suggested that the finger of accusation should not be pointed to "us" alone since this type of crime is happening and continues to happen in other regions of Somalia. As well, we should not take the position that this issue is intended to embarrass the country by "others" and thus collapse this particular issue with the general abuse of women elsewhere. That would be reprehensible, every Somali life is worth everything, and every injustice must be fought, simply because we in Somaliland know that the slippery slip of silence begets more authoritarianism and finally impunity.

The judiciary is the nerve-centre of our form of government; it is where the people look to settle disputes and to arbitrate over and dispense justice in the country. It must not fail this young woman and it must not fail these young lawyers who are testing the system in order to set precedent as well as defend the honour of Somaliland. In the end, it is the honour of Somaliland that is at stake, how we treat this case, this case of this woman who was a guest in this country, will decide how Somaliland is looked upon from now on. This case is a symbol of how our justice system works, if it fails, I repeat, if it fails we all fail and if we all fail, Somaliland also fails the test of what and who we are.. The World is watching we must do the right thing!

Source: 12, 2004

Human Rights Education Campaign Launched

A month-long nationwide human rights and legal education campaign was launched today through a simultaneous mobilization rally in Hargeisa, Burao, Berbera, Borama and Erigavo to mark the celebration of International Human Rights Day. The event was led by Somaliland National Human Rights Network a conglomeration of local non-government organizations, human rights activists, and traditional leaders (Aqils) spread throughout the country.

The massive awareness campaign targets both the urban and rural population to educate them on their constitutional rights and the nascent judicial system of the country. The education campaign will place teams of human rights activists, traditional leaders and law students from the University of Hargeisa's Legal Clinic to rural villages in Togdheer and Hargeisa as well as schools, universities and villages in the capital, Burao, Borama, Berbera and Erigavo.

Regular radio airing of interviews and discussions focusing on Somaliland Constitution, Islam and human rights, customary law and human rights promotion, child rights and women's right to political participation and a column on "Know Your Rights" will highlight the campaign's media component.

As preparatory efforts of the campaign a community policing initiative was launched in Burao led by the Aqils in the region a week before the celebration.

The campaign is the first synchronized effort of multi-sectoral organizations working to reach the grassroots communities in the country. A series of consultation-dialogue meetings among refugees, asylum seekers, Internally Displaced People (IDP's) and the minoritied will be conducted.

Source:, Hargeisa, Somaliland - 12 December, 2004

Playing The Right Cards In Djibouti Politics

The issue of recognition for Somaliland has been one that found very little traction outside of the country due to its complexity and somewhat anemic effort put forward by this and previous administrations in Somaliland. It is not enough to simply declare to the world that one exists and is here to stay. The issue is not one of physical presence, it is and will always be one of political significance, and in this reality like the tree that falls in the forest, unless someone can hear it fall, it does not make a sound.

The Somaliland administration's tendency of not engaging in the political processes of its neighbors is one that needs to be re-evaluated, given that so far it produced nothing but a constant state of political siege where Somaliland is always playing defense and influence goes only in one direction. The wrong way from the Somaliland's point of view, and one can see a clear example of that in what is going on in Sool where the other side shows no sign of affording them the same courtesy, and are actively engaged in creating new skewed facts on the ground.

The mentality of complete isolation where any dialogue with the other side is seen as political suicide needs to change, after all Somaliland is not an island and is very susceptible to what takes place in the neighborhood. Spending some political capital and engaging in some offence for a change can go a long way in bringing about the right kind of leadership on the other side for the day the question of relationship between Somalia and Somaliland will be settled.

Mr. Mohamed Daud Shihim the chairman of the opposition party (PDD) stated that he will definitely recognize Somaliland as a sovereign nation if elected, comes the sudden realization of how important playing a little political hard ball can be.

Mr. Shihim was promptly invited to Hargeisa where he met with members of the Somaliland government, elders and opposition party (KULMIYE) representatives. This was not an all-altruistic move on his part, he is here because he is courting the Issaq and the Samaroon vote in Djibouti with the hope of forming a coalition between these clans and the Affars, and ousting president Ghelle from power. Chances are that president Ghelle is eying this development with some concern, and given an opportunity, he might be willing to reconsider his previous positions about the Somaliland issue.

What is required is some deft and quiet diplomacy to bring about the desired result. Whether this government or Somaliland politicians at large have the skills and the capacity to exert the right amount of pressure and bring about favorable results remains to be seen.

Source: December 11, 2004

The Mbagathi Blunder and Somalilander's Prospective!

The international community is obviously confused with the notion of having all Somali warlords and feuding groups in a conference for so long that supposedly reached some kind of consensus by building a government, only to result a president not even yet settled in his seat requesting 20,000 troops to make him legitimate among his people. The very people who supposedly elected him, overwhelmingly! And when that attempt failed, appointed PM from the Abgaal sub-clan of the Hawiye (mainly centered in Mogadishu area) whose mandate is to build a government that primarily satisfies the wish of the main warlords and thus can easily and quickly be welcomed into Mogadishu.

While the PM barely succeeded by appointing a warlord infested substandard cabinet ministers and then diluted them into more ridiculed numbers to correct an already doomed process, here comes the wrath of the temporarily free assembly who are luckily still in Nairobi, for if they were in Mogadishu, who knows. They rejected and quickly sacked the new government elect. Now that the futile process that has been concluded in Kenya is turning into commotion, it is becoming a challenge for all. The gloves are off once again. But, the procedural errors and the lack of foundations deliberately orchestrated by people who have no invested interest in proper approach for respectable forum continued. Is there any chance that integrity and credibility ever be established in these kinds of quick fixes and disingenuous processes?

To examine one of the quick-fix-schemes, just in the past weeks, one can tell by looking at the inquiring faces of the security council members in Kenya puzzled with how the reconciliation process that took two long years and millions of $$$ spent, ended up with the election of a president who cannot go home unless armed to the teeth in order to subjugate the very ones who chose him as a leader in that so called reconciliation conference. What was all that hugging and swearing in the name of Allah, people are asking. What is going on? Foreign Troops? Where is the peace you people were working on all this time? The British Ambassador asked? Little that they (the international community) know about the political mentality of the deceitful members of this assembly! It is obvious that there was no such thing as reconciliation among this dishonest crowd. Still politics for most of these fellows is unfortunately a mere con job without sincerity. As a matter of fact traditionally, sincerity equals stupidity and naivety in their twisted politics.

It is the sincere believe of many intellectual Somalis that as long as Somalia's future political rulers and administrators are drawn from this class of predators, no amount of preaching the virtues of good foundation or tuition on public administration will fundamentally alter the outcome. The failure of democracy and economic development in Somalia was due to a large part to the scramble for wealth by this predator caste that have dominated Somalia's politics since the late Siad Barre's abolition of any requirement for senior administration's promotion ladder, based on education and public service. These people are the creations and the fruits of such catastrophic policies put in place by the vicious dictator for better part of 20 years. Since there is high premium on the control of the state, they see the state as a source of personal wealth accumulation. Most of them can register to everything they have to that practice.

Nations have passed away and left no traces, And history gives the naked cause of it- One single simple in all cases; They fell because their people were not fit. --Rudyard Kipling

To comprehend and understand the difference between Somalia and Somaliland one do not need to look farther, just the two assemblies. Since the disintegration of the Somali Nation State followed by Somaliland's breakaway move, poor Somalis, exasperated by anarchy and bewildered by the constant breakdown and derailment of grassroots based authority, find little around themselves to inspire the confidence that as a people they can manage their own recovery with these set of crooked leaders in the helm. Ignorance and lack of capacity is not the only main causes. Sworn enemies who would not face each other in a dark alley are trying to build mediocre foundation with deck of schemes for a later date under their sleeves. But so far, these schemes never materials to anything, because they know each other. Who is fooling who? The masses themselves seem powerless to stop the endless cycle of bad initiations. The political disasters they suffer seem to recur with hideous frequency and thus greatly perpetuated the myth that hostile factions are conflicting and need reconciliation.

The grassroots foundation of the Somaliland assembly is begun with noble traditional leaders with integrity and I emphasize the word INTEGRETY who all led a life full of good deeds and sense of purpose. Then followed by politicians from all walks of life that are compelled to look into these traditional leaders for guidance. Somaliland with fewer resources gradually put in place structures and reforms that will strengthen the rule of law, support democracy and promote greater accountability and transparency including provisions for checks and balances. Some Sub-Saharan Africa political historians even call it "Africa's Best Kept Secret" And the rest was history.

Retrospectively, in that gathering in Kenya, the heinous business of duping and deceiving continued. This time, the deception was towards the Warlords who are lured in to cabinet positions in order to be able to move the government into Mogadishu, instead of building a basic foundation for a credible entity. May be Abdillahi Yusuf think they are stupid enough and would cheerily be happy with a cabinet position they can lose at any minute by a phone call.

One bright spot is the significance of the cabinet posts appointed to those who fraudulently asserted to be representing the people of Somaliland. The double-cross scheme set for them was sensationally brilliant, I must say.

The people of the Republic Somaliland believe that Somalia needs simple grassroots authority that provides harmony among its people, security and infrastructure rehabilitation, not 500 wolves, squabbling for positions susceptible to embezzlement and sharpening their teeth with all kinds of wicked ideas for corruption against the very poor who only yearn for some order and decent authority. In any case, this does not look like a well thought process and is destined for more chaos, as these deeply corrupted individuals have plotted against desperate Somalis, again and again for their own gain, but God did not gave up on ordinary Somalis, yet.

Abdirahman Waberi, Washington, DC,

Source: UN IRIN December 10, 2004

Somalia: Somali Refugees Could Return Home in 2005 - UNHCR

Addis Ababa -- Somali refugees who have lived in Ethiopia for the last decade could begin returning home in 2005, the UN refugee agency, UNHCR, said on Tuesday.

Kamal Morjane, assistant UN high commissioner for refugees, said the move could begin once peace was restored in the war-ravaged region. "Refugees will go back the day they will have security, safety and dignity," Morjane told reporters in the Ethiopian capital, Addis Ababa.

According to UNHCR, there are currently 116,000 refugees in Ethiopia - the majority from Sudan, with 16,000 from Somalia and 9,000 from Eritrea. Half are expected to return by June 2005, while others from southern Somalia - where peace has not yet been restored - could begin returning by December 2005.

Last year, some 29,000 Somali refugees living in eastern Ethiopia were repatriated, according to UNHCR.

Morjane also said the UN was "waiting for the moment" the Sudanese peace deal was signed between southern rebels and Khartoum to start repatriating 500,000 people from neighbouring countries. He said it could take three years before all the refugees could head home after two decades of civil war. The UNHCR, he added, was also looking at repatriating Eritrean refugees.

He said, however, that UNHCR faced an annual shortfall in financial support of about 20 percent, amounting to about US $200 million of its $1.4 billion budget.

Morjane also warned that further increases in refugees arriving in Chad from Darfur would put pressure on existing resources. "The refugees in Chad are facing very difficult conditions," he said. "We hope we will not get more refugees because of the problem of water."

Source: The Republican/afrol News/ December 10, 2004

Somalilander First Lady urges women to unite to get seats in Parliament

The new election law of Somaliland has yet to be completed while there are less than four months to the parliamentary elections, but women are organising themselves to be elected in large numbers to the Hargeisa parliament.

- Your meeting here today is an encouraging sign that women have political ambitions and are organising themselves to be part of decision making bodies, said Somaliland's First Lady, Huda Barkad, at a recent meeting organised by the Ministry of Family and Social Development at the Ambassador Hotel. "To achieve this, you have to form a plan and strategy," she advised.

The Somalilander First Lady urged the women who are organising themselves for the parliamentary elections on 29 March next year that they would preserve their culture and religion, respect the multi-party system and unite to get seats in the parliament.

She added: "Equality of gender exists in Somaliland. [Women's] role in decision making bodies should increase and they have to unite their forces to attain socio-economic development."

Edna Aden Ismail, Somaliland's Minister of Foreign Affairs who also spoke at the meeting, said; "Women have equal rights as men and they also have similar obligations to fulfil, either individually or as a group.

- I have no doubt that women will be elected in the forthcoming parliamentary election, Ms Ismail added. "No one can stop women from being elected as they have the right to vote," Somaliland's first female Foreign Minister told the group of women.

Meanwhile, in the capital of the Central Region, Burao, a delegation led by the executive director of NAGAD Women Umbrella, Sado Hashi, has been organising women and raising their awareness to take part in the first multi-party parliamentary election ever to be held in Somaliland in March.

Speaking to the press after completing a visit to various districts in the Central Region, Ms Hashi said: "Women have to negotiate with the political parties in the number of seats that they are going to allocate for the women in their parties. We are trying to get good representation in the next parliament."

In another development, the Chairman of the National Election Commission (NEC), Ahmed Hagi Ali Adami, told the press - after meeting the House of Representatives' committee on completion of the election law - that elections must be held on 29 March 2005 and that the election law has to be completed when parliament returns from its adjournment.

He said: "The committee has an expert to advice them on the transition from community-based elections to democratic elections. The press should stop writing about the possibility of postponement or what will be done."

- But if conditions hinder elections from being held, then postponement can be decided by those empowered to do so, Mr Adami added. "There is no alternative for elections," he however emphasised.

By staff writers

Source: Qaran News, Dec 09, 2004

The Government of Somaliland response to amnesty/African rights Accusation

Hargeisa (The Rep)- The government of Somaliland responds to Amnesty accusations regarding the case of Samsam Ahmed Du'ale and Osman Jama Warsame. Somaliland forum urges Appeal Court to release 4 defence lawyers sentenced to 3 year prison.

Ministry of Justice in its first reaction against criticism by Amnesty International and African Rights stated that the 2 suspects who re in custody have all the rights as other prisoners and are allowed to be visited by their families, lawyers and human rights organizations and that they will be released if not found guilty .

The statement from the ministry of Justice states that Somaliland has no special courts to oppress people and that the judiciary system has no place for forced confession, to be used against suspected people and that those sentenced have the right to appeal to higher courts against any sentence

Speaking about the age of Samsam, who claims to be raped while in custody, but whom the government accuses of being suspected of conspiracy and espionage said, "Amnesty and African Rights give her age as 16 and 17 respectively, but that she had told the court that she is 18 years old and as such that she will be treated as a mature and not as an under age'

Regarding the beating and torture while in custody the ministry responded saying, " The court sent them for medical investigation and check up and that the doctors have declared that the 2 suspects were not beaten, nor tortured and that Samsam was not raped."

The Justice Ministry response also states that Amnesty International and African Rights based their accusation on rumours in the city and statements by individuals who are the enemies of the country and who made condemning the country their business."

The statement reiterated that the propaganda given to the case and the 2 reports will have negative consequences on the girl for traditionally she will be segregated by the community and that clan vengeance might follow such publicity.

The ministry in its response stated that the government supports the right for civic society organizations to assist in the implementation of justice, that individuals have the right to assemble and join any social, economic or political organizations. But The statement added "These rights assisted the formation of organizations who have no clear cut obligations and who have misused these rights".

The ministry calls on civic societies to avoid what the ministry referred to as the overuse of these rights, to respect the law of the country and to avoid being an obstacle for the performance of Justice in the country. In conclusion the statement tanks the US, UK, Norway, Sweden as well as UN and other International organizations who assist raising human Rights in the country.

Mean while Somaliland Forum, an Intellectual organization in the diaspora in an urgent message to the Appeals Court, requested the immediate release of the 4 defence lawyers, who were sentenced to 3-year prison on November 24/04.

Somaliland Forum in its request stated that the Penal Code applied in sentencing the 4 lawyers to be outdated. It added saying, "The suspects should not loose the right to have legal defence, that the sentence against the lawyers is severe and that disciplinary measure would have been sufficient.

Somaliland Forum concluded its request by reminding the judiciary that the quick decision taken against the defence have affected the prestige of the country abroad.

Source: Qaran News, Dec 09 2004/Source:The Republican & East African Magazine

US and UK signal of Readiness to recognize Somaliland prompted A/Yusuf's attack

Nairobi- Many observers of developments in the Horn of Africa innocently assumed that the culmination of the Mbagathi peace and reconciliation process with the election of a new President of Somalia was a net plus. In Nairobi, the only negative marking the ascension of Abdillahi Yusuf to the Presidency of Somalia was the massive traffic jam that turned the trip from the city centre to Eastleigh into a two-hour crawl. In Eastleigh itself, the mood was low key but festive: indeed the price of quality miraa soared to Ksh800, hitting the $10 a "Killo" threshold for the first time.

But for Somalia's neighbour, Somaliland, the new era began more ominously. Two weeks after his inauguration, militia from the neighbouring territory of Puntland, Abdillahi Yusuf's power base, travelling in a convoy of battlewagons launched a cross-border incursion into the Las Anod area on October 29, provoking a 10-hour battle that left scores of combatants dead, including the leader of Puntland forces and his deputy. The region of the northern Horn ruled by the British united with the Republic of Somalia shortly after independence, then went its own way after the collapse of Siad Barre's state, and established a formal government in 1993. Puntland followed suit by setting up its own administration in 1995, and although ambivalent about its relation-ship with Somalia, followed a similar trajectory until Abdillahi Yusuf invaded in 1998 and deposed the elected leader, Jama Ali Jama.

The incident at Las Anod earned the new president international opprobrium, raised a storm of protest in Somaliland and among the Somali diaspora, and gave substance to predictions that the former colonel's ascent to the presidency will catalyse a new cycle of clan-based conflict.

The Somaliland first government has skilfully managed internal fissures presented both by divisions within the ISAAQ clan majority and the Darod and Dir minorities falling within the borders of the former British colony.

The government has relied on power sharing, political dialogue, and democracy to successfully mute clan antagonisms. Two opposition parties, several newspapers, and open elections, contrast with the violence and free flow of arms next-door; when last year's polls ended in a statistical dead-heat, the Republic's third heard of state, Dahir Rayale Kahin, peacefully assumed office after elders arbitrated the results.

Somaliland's first government kept the United Nations at arms' length and eschewed most foreign assistance, despite starting virtually from scratch. "Citizens" of the diaspora contribute an estimated $400 million per year to an economy otherwise dependent on livestock exports, and have helped establish two universities.

The case for recognition derives from the British colony's voluntary decision to join the Republic of Somalia after independence, the pogroms and brutal treatment meted out by the central government during the latter years of the Barre regime, the young state's democratic credentials, and a decade of impressive progress despite the blowback generated by the political pandemonium on its borders. Failure to accord recognition reflects the apathy of African states, the active opposition of Egypt, Libya, Djibouti, Eritrea and Saudi Arabia, and the jaded real politik of Western powers.

The absence of objective criteria marked by the instant recognition and legitimacy accorded to Abdillahi Yusuf's embryonic government while Somaliland's state of limbo continues, translates into a policy of no good deed shall go unpunished.

The political scientist Goran Hyden described the African state circa 1982 as, "Suspended in mid-air above society," the task facing Abdillahi Yusuf & Co in Somali 2004 magnifies the irony of his metaphor a hundredfold. Somalia remains a country of autonomous regions where numerous pockets have rejected the new government. Members of his government acknowledge that the real work has just begun; in this context, the latest incident of Puntland-Somaliland friction appears to mask a more cynical gambit.

Emphasising an external threat helps a divided polity close ranks. It can be especially effective when the enemy lies within: "I believe we all know," President Yusuf said at his inauguration, "that the unity of Somalia is necessary and sacred." It would not be the first time the, "North" served as a scapegoat for problems in the "South."

Several years ago, I casually noted the significance of the evolving situation in Somaliland only to provoke a former official of the Barre regime to exclaim, "The `North' was the root cause of Somalia's collapse!" The logic of this escaped me until a Kenyan Somali informed me that, from a certain perspective, the Northerners' less-than total commitment to Somali unity can be interpreted as the "first crack" in a vessel that widened over time.

If the Somali nation is like a fragile porcelain vase etched with intricate clan patterns predisposing it to fracture, in his inaugural speech, the new president's position on Somaliland added another layer of shimmering glaze to the vessel: ".a part of my reconciliation programme will be dedicated to our brothers in Northern Somalia who self-declared themselves as Somaliland. They are our brothers. Personally as a man (and I thing you agree with me), I regret the hardship they went through. What is needed, after the government is fully established, is to hold peace talks with them and find ways to return them into the fold of Somali unity. And it is prohibited and will not happen that will approach them again with bullets and fight out brothers."

One critic on a Somaliland website dismissed this stab at diplomacy as "a dagger camouflaged in flowers." Twenty-four hours after 10 African heads of state anointed Abdullahi Yusuf at Kasarani, we were breaking our Ramadan fast in Eastleigh when the subject of the new government came up Garrisa Lodge capitalism has displaced the clanism revived by the refugee inflows of the 1990s; widespread apathy towards the new government surfaced in neutral comments like, "Wacha tuone" (Wait and see) and "Mungu awasaidie Safari bii." (May god bless them this time around). Then, out of the blue, gentlemen from Mandera forcefully averred, "Now all Somalis must become one!" The statement foreshadowed the aggression in Sool, which coming in the wake of October 14, caught many Somali watchers by surprise.

It would not have if the light focusing on the same candidate who was forgiving and asking to be forgiven in Nairobi also illuminated reports claiming he was seeking arms and munitions from rebels operating in Ethiopian-controlled Ogaden, and mobilizing his Darod cohorts for war against Somaliland. But Somalia fatigue and the repetitive nature of its clan-driven conflicts have lowered the region's media profile. Viewed from afar, it was an irrational first step towards restoring a national government on the ground, a return to the divide-and rule tactics of the Barre regime.

Strong identity reinforces many admirable qualities of Somali society - and transmutes into attitude problems when it comes to "clan" but one must be careful when it comes to the determinants of internal Somali tensions.

Bedouin wisdom (Me against my brother, my brother and I against our uncle, etc.etc) aside, relationships among Somali clans, sub-clans, jilib, sub-clans, diya (bride price) paying groups, and even between individuals can be very complicated, and subsume arcane factors and subjective motives difficult to evaluate from an external perspective.

The invasion my prove to be emblematic of considerably more coercive Jihad than the one Abdillahi Yusuf articulates in public and yield insight into the even bigger surprise-why his colleagues selected him for the job.

This scenario reveals the logic behind the gambit in Sool. The operation was calculated to bolster southern ideological unity by reactivating the "either with us or against us" bogey while signalling to the North (and other oppositionists) that, "this is just a state of things to come." Abdullahi Yusuf has not arrived yet, but the Sool incident set things in motion.

An international chorus of Somalilanders berated the government in Hargeisa for turning the other cheek. But a counter-offensive would have reinforced the stratagem outlined above, while the "hawks" acknowledge that. Somaliland's restraint is reportedly largely due to the recent visit of a British delegation. Her majesty's government and the US have signalled they are finally ready to bestow recognition, and Yusuf and Co's acceptance of this as fait accompli reportedly contributed to the decision to invade Somaliland. Recognition should come. But depending on how developments unfold, some tanks and F-16s will do instead.

They might not. Another theory circulating on the ground interprets the sabre rattling about a Darod-Isaaq war as a ploy to cement the Hawiye-Darod alliance underpinning the new regime. Abdullahi Yusuf was the first dissident to come out of the closet and challenge Siad Barre. Now he has remerged to face his ultimate political test: Making the transition from rebel and warlord to statesman and head of state.

Somalia: Interview With Jan Egeland, UN USG for Humanitarian Affairs

Source: UN Integrated Regional Information Networks/INTERVIEW/December 9, 2004

Hargeysa: The UN under-secretary-general for humanitarian affairs and emergency relief coordinator, Jan Egeland, spoke to IRIN about his impressions and what he hoped to accomplish, as he led a high-level UN mission to Somalia on 4 December. The mission was the first of its kind in nearly a decade.

This is the first mission at this level by the UN to Somalia in nearly a decade. What is significant about this visit?

It is indeed the first trip in a long time and it reflects several things. One - it has been a long period of political conflict and insecurity that has prevented much of the international work and high-level visits. But it has also been a neglected and forgotten conflict for too long. I think now, we in the international community are belatedly wanting to show our solidarity with the Somali peoples and also do our best to help them move to better times. Finally, I also come in recognition of the great work that has been undertaken by the NGOs and UN agencies that have been active for many years here, especially through the local staff and international staff here in Somaliland and in Somalia at large. They have been doing great things with very small resources. We hope now that we can attract more funding and more interest for a greater programme since the needs are so big here.

What do you hope to accomplish on this short trip?

I hope to [raise] more international attention - more international funding - a new beginning for active international support for the efforts of the Somalis themselves. It is only the Somalis themselves - and I don't hide that fact when I meet the political leaders here - they themselves have to stop their old practices of fighting each other every time they have a problem. They have to learn how to do peaceful conflict resolution. That is the only way by which we also can help them help themselves.

You visited a couple of returnee camps in Hargeysa. You saw the conditions these camps were in. What do you think is needed to alleviate those conditions?

Conditions are really very bad here. People live as badly in the camps as they do in Darfur [Western Sudan]. There is no difference at all. First, we saw two groups, one which had received hardly any assistance and another which is now receiving land from the government, schooling from the UN, and health and education from the international organisations. This is how we should be able to deal with all those coming, as a collaborative effort between local and national entities and the international community. Somaliland and Somalia at large have been receiving now hundreds of thousands of returnees that they had to accommodate with very small resources.

Somaliland, as you just mentioned, has resettled hundreds of thousands of returnees with very little resources. What is your impression now of Somaliland since you have been there before?

I am very impressed with what has been done here. I had, in my capacity as a state secretary in the Norwegian Ministry of Foreign Affairs in the 1990s, many contacts with the Somaliland authorities. I donated the first satellite phone in Somalia to President Egal [late Somaliland President Muhammad Ibrahim Egal] and I have seen since that time how they have - largely through their resources and their own efforts - rebuilt Hargeysa and rebuilt the other destroyed cities and their country. So, they have organised themselves very well. But they do have a real problem by not being recognised by any other states and I urge them to do their utmost to accommodate all their neighbours because it will facilitate our work on the humanitarian and reconstruction and development front and, thereby, help them help themselves.

You mentioned that one of your goals is to try and get more attention focused on Somalia. Other emergencies in the world have attracted a lot of attention. Is Somalia's problem the lack of interest by international powers?

That can be one of the factors. In a world full of competing emergencies and disasters, it really helps if there is an international locomotive that can help us bring attention - help us bring resources. I think the biggest challenge for Somalia has been the sense that it is a hopeless case of incomprehensible internal conflicts and there is nothing we can do. I think that is the wrong attitude because there is a lot we can do. Our assistance in Somalia has been remarkably effective and successful, and we have helped with very small resources - a large group of people and we can now do even more. I think now Somalia is turning a corner and we can, with the new political development, build on momentum - really build a peaceful future.

A new transitional government has been established in Somalia. A president has been elected, a prime minister appointed and cabinet named, and they have already asked for support in terms of peacekeeping, demobilisation and disarmament. Do you think the international community should support this new government to establish itself in Somalia?

I think it is a false contradiction that has been built here that the new government says we cannot really establish ourselves or make peace before you assist us - and the international community says we cannot help you before you establish yourself and create peace. The two things have to happen in parallel. They [the government] have to show that this is a serious effort and the warlords and political clan leaders have to strike peace deals with each other. However, they cannot do this alone. There is too little to build on. They [need] help to train police, to train security forces, to build a justice sector, to build institutions [and] to build ministries. The UN is ready and we hope the donors are ready to help us help the Somalis.

What do you think are the next steps that need to be taken to achieve that?

We need better coordination on the international side, just as they need better and more effective efforts on the Somali side. We have too many reconstruction and development assistance plans. There is the UN plan. There is a donor plan. There is an NGO plan. We need to have one comprehensive international effort and I think that can come in the light of a possible donor conference in Rome. I am glad to see that Italy and Sweden are working towards [putting] some time in the middle of next year. Then, we also need to have credible Somali institutions being established inside Somalia and local and regional peace agreements to be brokered. All of those things [need to be working] in parallel.

How optimistic are you that you will be able to focus the necessary attention on Somalia and does your trip indicate a renewed interest in Somalia?

It is the first visit of this kind in a decade. I have been bringing in international media, both Arab and western. I will be briefing ambassadors in Geneva and New York. I will talk to donors, the media and my boss, Kofi Annan, but there is no quick fix to these things. This will only be a short-term effort, unless there is a follow up locally, nationally and by international partners - in the long term. It will take years really to build a peaceful and prosperous Somalia.

Today I would say that as much as the resource constraint and attention constraint, there is a security constraint. We have in Somalia, as in Iraq and Afghanistan, been individually targeted by extremist groups, which nearly made us leave Somalia completely. I would urge all those involved to do their utmost to defend us, so that we can build up our presence instead of decreasing it.

You have in your delegation a representative of the Arab League. Is this part of your plan to involve the Arab League and try to solicit funds and interest from them in Somalia?

I have been working, as emergency relief coordinator, on an international scale, very hard to build a wider alliance of partners in assistance efforts. We are too much north/west and too little global, and yes, I work conscientiously and systematically now to involve Arab countries that have a lot of potential resources for Somalia [Somalia is member of both the Arab League and the Organisation of Islamic States]. Having Al-Jazeera TV travel with me and filming continuously, I think, helps to draw the attention of the Gulf countries and elsewhere, from which we should also be able to attract resources.

Any other thoughts?

I think I want to congratulate those who have been working here because when we say that it has been largely forgotten and neglected by the international community, it has not been forgotten and neglected by the NGOs, UN agencies, Red Crescent organisations - that had been working here. I would also like to congratulate the authorities here that had been doing much to prevent a much larger disaster. Hopefully, we can now get to draw the same attention to Somalia and the Somalis, as we were able to draw

Source: 10 December, 2004

SOMALILAND: A Nation Without Responsible Government

Ali Hassan (Kubad) - Toronto, Canada

The political game played by Embagthi charlatans cannot by any stretch of imagination stymie our will and courage to pursue a viable and organic modern democracy. However, one has to admit that Somaliland is facing a few more bumps in the road ahead. Simply put, we are not out of the woods yet. Nevertheless, the stupendous valor, determination, and resilience of Somalilanders, has always been our best-kept secret weapon.

Having said that, the question is what are the bumps ahead and how can we cross that road without incurring any substantial loss in terms of resources, be it financial or human lives. There are exogenous as well as endogenous elements that cause the aforementioned hindrance. From my perspective, there are five main perils that Somaliland is facing today: Somalia's pathological obsession with Somaliland, prima donna Ismail Ghelle of Djabouti, Abdilahi Yussuf and his few allies in LasAnod, Riyalle's inept government, and our citizens' attitude.

It is very unfortunate that our brethren in Somalia cannot comprehend the fact that we were capable, in 1991, of nullifying the social contract we had entered with them on July 1, 1960. It is not that hard to notice the southerner's faulty ratiocination. On one hand, they validate the union, the contract we had with them back then. On the other hand, they abnegate our rescindment from that contract. They talk as if we were joined at the hip. It is not that abstruse that Somaliland's sovereignty antedates that of the south by six days, though southerners conveniently ignore that fact too. In addition, southerners should understand that the 19960's unification was a by-product of Somaliland's grass roots, not its elites. Hence, building a greater Somalia, as the star on the original flag symbolizes, was the crux of Somalilanders' goal. Southerners must also be reminded that virtually every country in Africa defines its boundary just the way European colonials had created, that is why the African Union is adamant in not changing the present existing boundaries. Somaliland's case is an anomaly in Africa for we are the only country on that continent that formed unification with another entity right after it achieved its sovereignty. This is the reason that we decided to restore the sovereignty we briefly enjoyed for six days prior to entering into a social and political contract with Somalia.

Lastly, Southerners should understand that there are several nations, which happen to be neighbors, which also share the same language, religion and culture. Djibouti fits into that description, but it opted out to form unification with Somalia? There are twenty Arab countries and all of them speak the same language, share religion and culture. How come they are not united and have only one Arab nation, just as the Jews have Israel as Jewish State? Also, nearly all of South America with the exception of Brazil share Spanish language, Christianity, and a quasi-similar culture. Why don't they unite as one country? Canada and the USA both speak English language and share a Judeo-Christian culture, and were colonized by the British yet they happen to be two different nations. One can easily demonstrate a plethora of examples to prove that merely speaking the same language does not constitute nationhood. The Somalia's argument is based upon a faulty inductive reasoning. Probably, the only example they can offer as reasoning is Yemen. But the milieu for that country was totally different from ours. The south and north Yemen were separate for more than a decade and their unification was based upon consensus and was entered in good faith. In any case, the concept of greater Somalia is as dead as the dodo. Even if people of Somaliland are reciprocated for the sacrifices they made in 1960, still they would not be convinced. Why? I will to tell you in a moment.

Let us say The Somalia extends Somaliland the following hypothetical offers: Hargeisa be the capital city; the president be from Somaliland; all of the major government positions such as minister of foreign affairs, minister of defense, the head of the army forces, et cetera, be filled by someone from the Somaliland communities. In addition, of the 120 members of parliament existing, 90 be filled by Somalilanders and the rest be from Somalia. Sounds like a pretty good offer, eh? Do you think this is far-fetched? This is exactly what Somaliland offered to Somalia back then however; today they would not and should not accept even that suppositional offer for one obvious reason: The same people who share religion, language and culture with us massacred One hundred thousand of our people. Somaliland does not take lightly to the loss of these people but they are in fact freer because of it. During the struggle for Somaliland's independence from the United Kingdom there were not even ten people killed. By the way, thanks for the new title you have given to some of our communities; the northern Dir, sounds pretty catchy.

The second peril that is facing Somaliland is Ismail Ghelle of Djibouti. Djibouti begrudges the success of Somaliland for Somaliland has become a dynamic and progressive nation in its short existence. From the day we declared our secession to this present day we have had three presidents. Somaliland has also had very effective opposition parties. On their side, by contrast, Djibouti, since its independence in 1977 to this day, has had only two presidents and they were both from Issa tribe. The Afars, who are almost half of Djibouti's population and are ethnically not Somalis, have been marginalized and oppressed by Ghelle's tribe. The chickens will be coming home to roost soon.

Somaliland stood its ground without external help for almost fourteen years; I wonder if the city-state of Djibouti could have endured what Somaliland has experienced in the last 14 years? Without a doubt, Djibouti would have disappeared of the off face the earth if it weren't for France's help. It is an artificial state whose main income, other than France's handout, are the taxes it collects from its port. This is where the tangle it has with Somaliland arises. Ghelle is cognizant about Zaila's commercial demise and he knows Berbera will eventually dwarf the Djibouti seaport if it revives the commercial importance it used to enjoy. Berbera and Sahil region for that matter are under tremendous political and economical pressure as a result of Ghelle's invisible hand. Ghelle sees the success of Somaliland as a win-lose outcome in favor of Somaliland. Ghelle's army has a habit of crossing Somaliland's border to destroy our national properties but Riyalle's regime often looks the other way. This tin-pot dictator suffers from size envy. He thinks that the present political success and future economic potentials of Somaliland may overshadow that of his city-state.

Moreover, Ghelle has been getting money from the UN, Arab League, and the AU ostensibly for helping the former Somalia's people to reconcile and rebuild a federal government. In any case, Somaliland citizens are very aware of his duplicity. For instance, right before Muj. Ahmed Silanyo left Somaliland for Great Britain, I mean his last trip, he exposed a supposedly clandestine document between Riyalle's minister of planning and Red Sea Livestock regarding exporting Somaliland's livestock through the port of Djibouti. Riyalle's government was caught off guard hence to get even with Muj. Silanyo, Riyalle instructed a mudslinger from his new found "October Star", a.k.a to cast an aspersion on his loyalty to Somaliland sovereignty. There is an unholy alliance between Ghelle and Riyalle. It is sad that Riyalle has disregarded his fiduciary responsibility to the citizens of Somaliland by embracing Ghelle. Again, one may wonder what amount of influence Ghelle has over Riyalle. Ghelle is an aficionado of Somaliland's demise; our success is the bane of his existence. He abhors our destiny, but we understand the reasons he detests our country. Almost, three weeks ago, Abdillahi Yussuf had paid a visit to his friend in Djibouti. Why? Something is wrong with the city-state of Djibouti!

The third peril is Abdillahi Yussuf's presence in LasAnod. A few disgruntled citizens who are against Somaliland invited the terrorists that are running LasAnod there. But it became a blessing in disguise for the warlord because he got the opportunity to annex some parts of Somaliland and then use it as a bargaining chip with Somalia's warlords. That was a very brilliant tactical move on his part. In fact, he claimed in Embaghti that of the six regions under his control, three of them are from Somaliland. Sadly, the other warlords from the South fall for his claim. In addition, some cultural, political, and intellectual elites from LasAnod are in cahoots with the warlord in his Byzantine scheme to destroy Somaliland. These collaborators insult our national character by mocking Somaliland as an IDOOR entity. Has anyone noticed that there is not even any shred of resistance from LasAnodians against that militia? Even when Abdillahi Yussuf imposed, travel restrictions on some of LasAnod's Garaads, who wanted to attend the Embaghti conference. Yet much to their chagrin, they are still compromising with his harsh rules.

These are the same people who chased Riyalle from LasAnod, therefore they are either suffering from Stockholm syndrome, and are sympathizing with their captors, or they are intoxicated by tribal malice. He even used them as pawns in the last couple of battles in Adhi-Adeeye. In any event, they need Somaliland's help if we, the majority of Somalilanders, want to build a nation based upon consensus and dialogue. We can not fall into a trap set by a hundred or so individuals of Afweine's remnants that Abdillahi Yussuf is using against our nation. In fact, the majority of that community is decent Somalilanders. Riyalle's government did not help that community's infrastructure probably he has a personal vendetta against them. Nonetheless, we should have worked hard to bring them on our side and make them a feel at home, so to speak.

The fourth salient peril that Somaliland faces is unfortunately Riyalle's inept and indecisive government. Riyalle's government fiddled while Somaliland was burning. Riyalle and his colleagues were engrossed in accumulating wealth and abusing their power, while Somaliland's enemies were devising their plot to destroy it. For starters, some hooligans who claimed to be the enemy of Somaliland chased Riyalle away from LasAnod. Then, to add insult to injury these dissidents invited Abdillahi's militia to LasAnod. What to do about the lost territory, to warlord Abdillahi, has then become a conundrum that Riyalle's government could not even begin to solve. Also, Somaliland has a fifth columnist Qaybe whose chicanery deserves nothing short of an Oscar award. This artful speaker of the parliament sabotages Somaliland in very clever ways. On one hand, he affronts staunch Somaliland supporters from his community, especially the ones from LasAnod. On the other hand, in the early days of the occupation, he advised Riyalle's government not to re-capture LasAnod through force. He has such great political prowess, a master of political paradox indeed. It should be noted that the community of Sool, Sanaag, Bari and Buhodle is geographically and politically comprised of two spheres, the Haud inhabitants and the Nugaal ones. Qaybe is from the Haud sector and because of that political cleavage he does not have much influence over the Nugaal's sector.

Riyalle's government was rather languid when the enemy of Somaliland was meeting in Embaghti. The opposition parties of Somaliland have been accused of creating fear among the masses by Somaliland's government. Suddenly, there was an intense effusion of emotion from Riyalle's government right after the warlord Abdillahi was elected the "president of Somalia". Riyalle and his cohorts knew they were in doldrums while Somaliland's enemies were engineering the demise of Somaliland. It was too late for Riyalle's government to make such a hullabaloo because it knew darn well that LasAnod was lost to the enemy under its watch.

Furthermore, the nasty warlord has been outsmarting Somaliland's government in his insidious attempt to create hate among the communities in Somaliland. Of the two skirmishes Somaliland had with his primitive militiamen, the first one occurred the week before he was elected president of Somalia and the one on Friday, occurred right after he was elected. His timing was impeccable and was purely psychological warfare aimed at Somaliland's people. If Friday's war in Adhi-Adeeye area was any indication, the warlord is reaching his goal. He is inciting the disgruntled members from LasAnod community with his mellifluous well-calculated tribal language and they fall for it. There are about one hundred or so individuals in that community that used to be ambassadors, Ministers, director generals, NSS and military officers of Afweine's regime. These are the individuals who are co-operating with the warlord. In the meantime, Riyalle's government has at its disposal at least 35 members of Somaliland's parliament, including the speaker Qaybe. They are from the community that the warlord is trying to use against Somaliland. How come these 35 members are not empowered so they could fight for Somaliland's cause? We have staunch supporters of Somaliland with the likes of Fuad Aden Cade why have they not been empowered with finance and human resources?

The government of Riyalle is politically bankrupt and morally reprehensible. A few megalomaniacs who all believe they are a heartbeat away from presidency surround him. All of his key cabinet members are there solely to enhance their fortunes. The corruption, mismanagement and the abuse of the constitution have become the norm. For instance, Riyalle had promised the people of LasAnod that his government would install a water system, but after the insurgents ambushed him he cancelled the project. Isn't that a collective punishment? I think it is morally wrong to do so. That community has been treated as a pariah by both President Egal and Riyalle. No wonder the warlord took advantage of their situation.

For Instance, some of Riyalle's cronies had tried to rebuttal the warlord's tribal propaganda, however in their process they found themselves championing intolerance, social ostracism and clannish discrimination. When they show corpses of the war victims of LasAnod in the newspapers and on websites they have stooped to the warlord's level. Were they conducting autopsies on the dead bodies or were they merely showing off? That sums up their political naivety.

As far as Somaliland's economy is concerned, the Somaliland's Diaspora is the largest foreign investor in that land. Many people rely on remittance sent by Somaliland's expatriates but these days our Somaliland Shilling has appreciated over the United States' dollar. Isn't that fascinating that our currency has beaten the currency of the world's strongest economy? Well, our economy is not that auspicious as it seems in terms of our currency exchanging with the USA dollar, in fact it is deteriorating at a rapid pace. Somaliland economy has not grown, American citizens are not excessively buying products that have been made in Somaliland, and there are not American tourists flooding to Somaliland yet the American dollar has been depreciating against our currency. Is there an economical miracle taking place in Somaliland? The truth of the matter is Riyalle's government has either controlled the flow of paper money or it did not print enough money. Everything, especially necessities have become astronomically expensive. Poor government policies beget poverty. This regime can not even employ a half-decent monetary policy. Once again, Riyalle's government has failed us. It is a pity that he is lacking the indispensable qualities to run our country.

The government of Riyalle still has an opportunity to rectify things. First, it has to utilize the representatives of the community of LasAnod and Nugaal. We have great leaders from that community who happen to be very progressive individuals and therefore we have to embrace them and help them help Somaliland's cause.

Second, our government should put forth a tremendous effort in order to make that community feel a sense of belonging. For instance the area that Somaliland government controls should be developed with schools and hospitals, etceteras. I know some of you may think that it is some sort of bribery to do so but believe me it is not. It is a universal practice of wealth redistribution performed by every responsible government. If the "occupied" territory is a sine qua non to our nationhood, then Somaliland government must improve the living conditions of the inhabitants of that area. Riyalle's government can't have it all.

The amount of money that we are wasting on buying weapons should have been spent on building schools, hospitals, and clean water for Nugaal's community and other parts of the country. Once we do things that could improve the quality of Nugaal's community, then we will win the hearts and the minds of that community. Riyalle's government will tell you that there are not enough resources to implement these projects. Meanwhile, we know the amount of money Riyalle is getting as a salary. The government of Riyalle though, would find a fund to finance any project if the project is useful to the government's policies. The recently built hospital of Ainabo town is a prime example.

Third, if we wage war, the people who are going to pay the heaviest price are the people of Nugaal. The majority of Somalilanders have been there before. They know what is like to be a war victim. In every war the first casualties are the children, elderly, disabled, and women. Any war waged against LasAnod will definitely affect those groups and they are Somaliland citizens. We should avoid war at all costs and empower our representatives from that community so they will be able resolve this salient problem in a peaceful way.

I believe pro Somaliland team will eventually win the hearts and the minds of their constituency. We have to stay away from war, because war is for primitive societies. War is a regressive tool. If Somaliland people often claim that we are a new political phenomena occurring in Africa then let us live up to our reputation. The most precious commodity of any civilization is the ability to utilize their intelligence and conscience. We need a new paradigm shift in our thinking. War has to be the last resort.

As a new nation, we are burning our bridges if we use military against LasAnod. We have already given the warlord ample opportunities to use some members of that community against Somaliland. Also, war is costly in terms of human lives and financial resources. It results in a misallocation of our limited resources.

Lastly, the government of Somaliland should explore all avenues to resolve the issue of LasAnod. For instance, it should consult with opposition parties, it should consult with traditional leaders from LasAnod and it should seek guidance and advice from the members of Somaliland's parliament representing the people of Nugaal. After all, we are talking about twenty five percent of LasAnod's community that is wreaking havoc on the rest of their community.

The fifth peril that Somaliland is facing is the attitude of its people. I believe it was Hegel who stated that reality develops by means of the reconciling, synthesis, and contradiction between thesis and antithesis. Allow me to play a devil's advocate here. I believe that we, all Somalilanders, are still operating on the most primal instinctive impulses of a distorted sense of survival and everything stems from that. We generally live by some sort of medieval militaristic indoctrination that we see in tribal institutions and that is the nature of the beast, survival instinct. Tribalism perpetuates survival impulses.

We may be a paranoid society, but it does not mean there is no one behind us. A member of our community has lost 100,000 lives during Afweine's regime. Should they be concerned in the future? Your guess is as good as mine.

In all honesty, I got a few red flags in cyberspace lately specially after the skirmishes in Adhi- Adeeye. At one point, I thought we were behaving like the bad guys in the "Balkans". It seemed to me that our nationalistic ego was bruised. I never thought that I would witness people who would behave in such a way that they have a monopoly over the sovereignty of Somaliland. You have the chutzpah to say to some of our fellow countrymen that they are condemned to be indebted to you for the rest of their lives because you forgave them. Since they are collectively guilty they should jump whenever they are asked to and they shouldn't dare to ask how high? I did not know that I was part of the Aryan race. This jingoistic and chauvinistic attitude is dangerous therefore our temperaments have to be reigned in. We have to be tolerant of one another and respect our differences of opinions.

For Instance, a few high profile members of Riyalle's government came to Burao and told their audience the following statement and I am paraphrasing it: `We forgave them and they are still launching war against us.' Well, excuse me, but who is we, and who are they? This is utterly ridiculous. How do you think a kid from LasAnod community living at Burao or Hargeisa, for that matter, would feel if he or she heard such pernicious and caustic statements from Somaliland officials? They would feel differently and they would be petrified with fear. Therefore, you guys should keep a civil tongue in your head. How come you do not remind Riyalle that you forgave him every time he appears in front of you? How come his community is not reminded that they were forgiven? They were on same page as the community of LasAnod during Somaliland's fight against Afweine's brutal regime. They were conspicuously absent from the SNM struggle as the nom de guerre of Muj. Abdirahman Aw Ali depicts.

If we want to build a nation, a nation that is progressive we should stop using certain vitriolic and acerbic remarks against the community of LasAnod. We should help them feel that we care about them and without them we are not complete. There is no room for verbal and emotional abuse towards a segment of our nation. I do not want that part of my people to suffer as result of the war we have with the warlord and his patsies. I do not believe that we are genetically predisposed to war. I don't see why we should go to war. Give me one reason why we should go to war? I may be a very skeptical person but I also believe the sinner Abdillahi Yussuf and the saint Riyalle, were once and still are, exchanging their notes. Perhaps they are explicit enemies but implicit allies, I don't know. Does anyone remember the number of people from Somaliland who died in the war between Somalia and Ethiopia in 1977, the war with Afweine's regime and the other unnecessary battles that happened in Hargeisa, Berbera and Burao? We have to change our attitude if we want to build a unique and progressive nation, which has never been seen before on the African continent.

As for the tough leaders in LasAnod who are trying to be the tale that wags the dog, let me remind you that it seems that you have gotten carried away in an ecstasy of mendacity in terms of claiming Sool, Cayn, Sanaag and Buhodle. I am talking directly to the upper crust of LasAnod community, the hundred or so individuals who were once Afweine's ambassadors, director generals, army officers, and former NSS senior agents. You are the by-products of Afweine and Dafle's son, Ahmed. It is likely that none of you even reside in LasAnod now. Chances are you live in a western country and your families and children are safe, yet you promulgate falsehood and hate. Instead of financing the insurgents and their radio station in LasAnod, why don't you behave like men and live in LasAnod? Do you want to turn LasAnod into the Faluja of Somaliland?

We know your attitude. Your flight of fancy, that IDOORS will be caught one by one by African peacekeepers, will definitely turn into your worst nightmare. Abdillahi Yussuf is talking about twenty thousand peacekeepers. Is that all? Let him bring a million of them. We have already lost 100,000 people, and we are willing to lose even a higher numbers now. If you have what it takes, forgive me if I may sound condescending, to sacrifice 100,000 to save a reputation of one tribe? If your answer is yes, then by all means please do so, for you are such a courageous clan. We hear your nasty put downs every day, but believe me when push comes to shove that warlord will not care about your people. By contrast, we care about you. We do not want you to go through what we went through during Afweine's ethnic cleansing scheme.

As a rhetorical question, one may ask the following: when different rights come into conflict, how do we know which one takes priority? In Somaliland's case, it would be a morally wrong to assume the right to live as one nation by a community that has lost 100,000 innocent citizens as it would be circumscribed by the rights of those delusional few occupying LasAnod. In every war there are winners, we won our freedom as a result of many lost lives. The political regime of Somaliland should promote the social and legal conditions for the production of a greater amount of happiness than would otherwise be the case.

No one has tried to rule LasAnod through the barrel of gun. The LasAnod community has been enjoying their self-rule from the first day Somaliland declared its secession from the south. Even if you want to be an autonomous region, the people of Somaliland are willing to compromise with you. Yet, you seem to cogitate that the problem is not how much freedom your community has been enjoying but rather why a certain community in Somaliland is enjoying its freedom. If the renegade leaders of LasAnod's community think that certain community in Somaliland has natural tendency in getting the short end of the stick all of the time, then we have nothing else to say but to admire your persistency. If you are willing to attrite your community just as you did in the mad Mullah's movement and Afweine's regime then go ahead and make our day. If you want to give a golden opportunity for vast uneducated individuals who under pretext of defending a nation want to avenge your community for past mishaps, by all means please do so. No disrespect for Somaliland's army and its citizens but when war occurs, pillage, looting and other collateral damage do unfortunately become the norm. Anyhow, if you want war, there is the devil to pay.

I was born in Ainabo and I have no bone to pick with someone from LasAnod if he/she claims Ayn region belongs to him or her because we share that land. But when some idiot from Bossaso area makes such a preposterous claim it makes me furious though I consider myself a rational human being. The last couple of attacks on our army may have given you a bit of false sense of self-assurance. But if and when the hammer falls, it will be severe and swift. Few shiploads of weapons from Yemen do not shake our confidence. Today Somaliland is light years ahead of where it was in 1990 when all the traditional leaders from our communities declared our independence at the Burao Conference. Why the change of heart now? Do you think that we are weaker now? We have an organized and well-disciplined army. We have a unified community that is determined to defend its country. All odds are against you, trust me you will never reach your deceitful goals. Roll the dice.

I am naturally a very optimistic person and I truly believe Somaliland will prosper and progress in the not so distant future. However, the present regime is not well equipped to take us to Promised Land that we have envisioned. Moreover, everyone be it a busboy, a cab driver, a politician, an unemployed person, or a teacher is preoccupied with the concept of RECOGNITION! This word has become a buzzword for everyone it has become ubiquitous. For instance, Riyalle's government uses it as an escape goat for its incompetence. Unfortunately, most of us fall for that subliminal propaganda. You would hear people saying if we were recognized by the world communities all our problems would have instantly vanished. It is obvious that recognition has some advantages, for instance it would ease some of the difficulties that people traveling with Somaliland passports wouldn't have otherwise faced. Donor nations would have probably provided us some kind of transient relief. Some diplomatic job positions would have been created for a few individuals. That is all.

Somaliland is in a catch 22 situation. On one hand we have to get recognition first from the "African (Dictators') Union", on the other hand unless Africa becomes a progressive continent represented by elected leaders they will not recognize us because doing otherwise in their opinion would open a can of worms. Many artificial countries like Djibouti would become extinct. Other major countries like Nigeria, Ethiopia and even Kenya would face crisis. Ivory Coast is in catastrophe at the present time.

It is not the recognition, stupid. It is the economy, education, health care, environment, human rights, and gender equality etc. We do not need other nations and international communities to validate our existence and nationhood. We are the masters of our own destiny. We have to be confident in our ability to establish a political regime that enhances the greater good for the greatest number. We need a representative democracy, with rulers accountable to those who have put them in power. We need a constitutional government, where rulers have power but only to the extent that they are given it by the people and within the principles that are set out within a constitution.

The Muj. Abdillahi Askari syndrome, the arrest and verbal abuse of our decent citizens, has to be halted once and for all in Hargeisa. The Zamsam case is like a slap in the face to our nation's reputation and the humiliation suffered by one Guurti member, Mr. Ahmed Dirir Ali cannot be tolerated anymore. At present the four lawyers that were representing Zamsam are serving 3-year sentences for contempt of court. Isn't that contempt for democracy? Our government shouldn't be burying its head in the sand. This seventeen-year-old innocent, defenseless victim has been abused beyond one's imagination. Look at the magnitude of the media attention her case is getting. Instead of bringing them to justice and rehabilitating the perpetrators of Zamsam's nightmare, the government of Riyalle has chosen to complicate and protract the situation in arresting the four distinguished lawyers that were representing her. If you always do what you have always done, you always get what you always got. Arresting the innocent journalists, senate members, and lawyers is a gross human rights abuse and people of Somaliland shouldn't put up with these kinds of government actions.

Somaliland's government has the attitude of "if all you have is a hammer, everything looks like a nail". Just because you are entrusted with power does not imply you can abuse your power and throw innocent individuals in jail. The government should treat its citizens with dignity. Riyalle's government has no vision in advancing our citizens' economic conditions. There are no programs to stimulate the economy. For instance, the port of Berbera has not been utilized to its potential. It is disgusting that Somaliland business people use Bossaso and Djibouti ports as substitutes for Berbera. Fifty six million Ethiopians as well as Somalilanders could have benefited from the Berbera's seaport usage. The word employment does not even exist in our dictionary. I wonder of the rate of unemployment in our country? Perhaps it is ninety five percent. Government workers do not even work for more than three hours. In fact, most of Riyalle's ministers do not even show up at their office for they are probably suffering from masticating Qat. The government is delinquent in paying its employees, including the Somaliland police, often. Where is the progress?

If any country wants to double the living standard of its citizens within a five-year period, its economy should grow by almost 15% annually. If the rate of growth is 7% per annum then their standard of living would double after ten years time. Three percent rate of annual growth will take 24 years to double our living standard. In case you think that I pulled this measurement out of thin air it is based upon Rule 72. It is a measurement used on an inflation, population growth, rate of return in investment, etc. Divide any rate by 72 and you will get the result. In any case, what percentage rate is Somaliland's economy growing? Does Riyalle have the skill to navigate our economy therefore our people's standard of living would fare better in the near future?

For a government that has a plethora of ministers, he has the luxury of appointing the auditor general and other positions, among them the manager of Hargeisa Club. Now he claims to have no influence over the judge ruling Zamsam's and her former lawyers' cases? It seems that he can't think outside of the box. But enough of Riyalle, for we can not blame him for all of our misfortunes.

What are our business elites doing? Can't they bring light industries to our country and create jobs? Why are we such a lethargic society? I can't believe that we even import distilled water. Oromo migrants do most of the menial and manual labor jobs because our people have disdain for such work. Perhaps it is the habit of Qat chewing that is causing this inertia. The Mafrashes with their spin doctors bring to most of us an atmosphere of congeniality. Unfortunately that is the mentality that is prevailing in Somaliland. We need work ethics from our government as well as our people. We have to overcome the dependency culture and work hard for our country. We should not be expecting manna from heaven. We can do it on our own, but we need an affective leader so we can overcome our obstacles. Keep that in mind when parliamentary elections arrive early next year. It would be presumptuous of me to tell you who to vote for but you see the situation now. Cast your vote wisely.

As for education, there is a positive correlation between the level and extent of education on one hand and economic prosperity on the other hand. For instance, Japan has no natural resources and yet it is the second largest economy, just behind the USA, in the world. The Asian tiger nations are the same. In fact, in Hong Kong the average working hours are ten hours per day and some even work six days a week. We have to educate our people. We have to also recognize that the human species, both by its numbers and its technology, has a massive impact on the environment. We are witnessing the biggest deforestation of our country's history. We have been using trees as charcoal energy and you do not have to be a rocket scientist to figure it out unless you replant the trees, we will eventually deplete them which would pose a tremendous danger too our existence.

In conclusion, we have a lot of challenges ahead of us, nonetheless we can beat all odds against us because our best-kept secret is the close knit fabric of the Somaliland citizens, and we share values. First, most present day Somalilanders are the people who were born after 1960. These cohorts are the ones who use to ask their parents the classical question of "what were you thinking when you took our sovereignty to Mogadishu"? Among them are many individuals who suffered under the Mogadishu based governments in terms of their education and job opportunities. They have been abused emotionally and psychologically during the thirty years before the downfall of Afweine's brutal regime.

Second, these groups had participated in our struggle for independence. They were the bulk of SNM soldiers. Therefore, unlike their parents who gained their freedom from Britain without bloodshed these cohorts had fought for their freedom and paid a huge price. They have seen individuals worst than Abdillahi Yussuf and believe me they do not blink. They know what is at stake and they are the true protectors of our nation. Their age group is between 18-55. They are cognizant of their enemy and they have been enjoying both personal and property freedoms since our declaration of our sovereignty in 1990.

They know their future potentials and they are cherishing the freedom they are enjoying presently. I call them the "consummate citizen". They have reverence for the rule of law. Abiding the law is inherent in their psyche. They are fed up with unnecessary wars and have experienced many broken dreams. They need jobs and their children deserve schools, hospitals and clean water. They need to get ahead in life and become a productive society. They are tolerating Riyalle's abuses for the sake of their nation and they put up with Abdillahi Yussuf's constant harassments. Yet they are resolute, courageous and are ready to defend their ideals and freedoms.

I am not worried about our nation's survival for a second, but I am concerned about Riyalle's sincerity and intentions. If he truly wants change for the better, for the people of Somaliland, then he should let people enjoy their fundamental basic human rights and freedoms. Release these innocent people from your horrible prison and show that you are genuinely for Somaliland's cause. Please let us give peace a chance.

I am sorry if I am loquacious, but my conscious and history would not forgive me, if I did not express and state my feelings.

May God bless our noble People.

Ali Hassan (Kubad), Toronto, Canada.

Source: 8 2004

Saveguard The Interest Of Somaliland

As a Somaliland citizen, I'm astonished and disgusted of the way certain sections of Somaliland community members at large portray and drag its name through the mad. As published in this site a recent article, an opinion of a member of our community and the article's title is "SOMALILAND: Could The Enemy Be From Within?" written by Mr. Ahmed Yusuf on December 5, 2004, and this writer lives London UK as describe by himself.

Given the fact that, this writer had used a strong language, which is very critical to the Somaliland Government its Police, Judicial and administration of its justice system.

And his carelessness of using very harsh and unjust words, without any careful considerations, and through analysis of the case concern.

Some of the language and words used are as follows "I want to express my concern and sense of disgust over the recent imprisonment of four Human Rights Lawyers and the way, in general, the Government of Somaliland, the Police and the Judicial system have handled the case regarding the arrest and allegations of rape of a young woman accused of espionage and terrorism. The arrest of this young girl and the subsequent imprisonment of Human Rights Lawyers have sent shockwaves of anger and repulsion throughout the world and we, as citizens of Somaliland, feel ashamed and cannot take pride in belonging to a nation whose Government and Justice system have been implicated in accusations of Human Rights violation. This is unacceptable and in contrary to everything that Somaliland should stand for." Well myself and many other readers are bewildered and ironically shocked of your use of words like "implicated in accusations of Human Rights violation." Without telling us who had implicated Somaliland of these allegations that you are implying had occurred.

Furthermore the accusation of the Somaliland government and its indirect involvement in this case and especially from higher ladder up in the chain of command of the administration are condoning this kind of actions, itself is unfounded and merely a speculation and you have not presented any evidence to backup your argument. And any minded person will rather describe you that, in fact you are the one who lacked strategic vision of gathering information it's truthfulness and compiling a good report from a good source.

The repetition of the words like a "young girl", 18 years old is an adult in any descent law of any country including Great Britain which you yourself live, and it is not an excuse to break the law let alone as alleged try acts of terrorism. In the case of the lawyers it is alleged that, the reason of their imprisonment is because of (Contempt of Court) and that is compliance within the guard line of Somaliland Constitution voted and supported unanimously by its people during the referendum. But were not just bundled from their homes and taken into custody as you have claimed.

However many others and myself do not share your view and certainly the World does not either, given the current climate of terrorism that the world is facing.

Therefore it's the interest of all of us and of course our country that one should refrain such descriptions and baseless information that spread like a wild fire.

From: Hussein Mohamed Tubeec, Melbourne Australia, Email:

Source: 8 2004


I am writing this letter not only because I am concerned about what is happening back home, but I also know that there are so many other Somalilanders who are equally worried about the recent developments in our beloved country. I want to express my concern and sense of disgust over the recent imprisonment of four Human Rights Lawyers and the way, in general, the Government of Somaliland, the Police and the Judicial system have handled the case regarding the arrest and allegations of rape of a young woman accused of espionage and terrorism. The arrest of this young girl and the subsequent imprisonment of Human Rights Lawyers have sent shockwaves of anger and repulsion throughout the world and we, as citizens of Somaliland, feel ashamed and cannot take pride in belonging to a nation whose Government and Justice system have been implicated in accusations of Human Rights violation. This is unacceptable and in contrary to everything that Somaliland should stand for. One simply has to weigh the amount of negative criticism this case has already attracted from international circles and spheres, including Human Right watchdogs to even contemplate the magnitude of the political damage this latest incident has done to the country. Is it really worthy the trouble and the tarnishing of our great nation, our democracy, our Judicial system and governance that we have built and been praised for to be undermined by the incompetence of our own administration which is doing more of what it was not supposed to do and less of the things that could do good to the nation-building.It seems to me that the people who are involved in this case cannot see beyond their noses let alone foreseeing the possible consequences of their actions. The damage that they have done to the country is so serious and beyond repair that Amnesty International has written a damning report about the case and is now demanding from the Somaliland government to come up with explanation of how this happened. The question we really need to ask ourselves now is: Is this what the people of Somaliland deserve after years of struggle and hard work?

The recent imprisonment of the four Human Rights lawyers is the latest of a series of plunders involving arrests and unlawful detentions of prominent Somaliland citizens who, through their line of work, have been on the vanguard of our democratic vision. Such include editor-in-chief of Jamhuuriya Newspaper, Mr Hassan Yusuf who was detained by the police only a few months ago. These and number of other incidents of similar nature have characterized Somaliland as a country where human right violation is a commonplace and freedom of press remains under threat.

Considering the pattern and the careful timing of these incidents occurring with passing resemblance with one another and their similitude in having the effect of portraying Somaliland Government in this tyrannical outline, one could innocently take the view that all these are part and parcel of some crafty and highly sinister political conspiracy premeditated by individual cells within the administration who, for their own reasons, appear to have a different agenda of some sort.

The idea of suggesting that the enemy could be from within may sound absurd yet it remains a popular view hugely subscribed to now by many people who think the chief architect of this so-called crafty and politically self-subversive agenda is more likely to be the administration in Somaliland itself than it being the work of an external enemy.

For I know it just too well and any fool knows it does not take a genius for an entire political apparatus of a country to be so načve and gullible not to think that the imprisonment of journalists and Human Right activists can easily be interpreted as a violation of human rights and sign of systematic repression of democratic values. The accusations of this nature can also raise serious concerns amongst the international community as well as having the potentials to blemish the political outlook of the country especially in such a high time when Somaliland is facing new challenges.

The allegation of rape whether true or not and the subsequent arrests of the Human rights activists are already costing Somaliland great deal and so much is at stake that Somaliland under the present circumstance cannot afford to err on the fundamentals of its own democratic values.

So why is it that the authorities in Somaliland have in the first place allowed this matter to drag on this long that they have even found themselves at loggerheads with their elite?

Why is it that we, the Somalilanders in Diaspora, tend to think as with many other politically non-aligned people outside the country feel, that the administration in Somaliland is doing things far too wrong too often and too many times than innocent incompetence can justify for the past two years? Why is it that the Government acts erratically each time something politically sensitive happens or even appears to be on the horizon without actually having any direct impact on us?

Why is it that Riyaale's administration jumps before the whistle blows and yet slows the race in actions like it did when Abdillahi.Yusuf was elected in Kenya as the president of Somalia?

Why talk the war talk and do the dove's work in war when in Lasanod, integral part of Somaliland territory still bears the brunt of being a conquered territory by troops belonging to Puntland following their incursion on Somaliland army bases stationed within Somaliland territories?

Why allow the alleged scandal over the rape allegations of a young to drag on and be used as moral propaganda warfare against Somaliland?

Why allow the good name of our nation to be implicated in a shameful disparage like this?

Considering the pattern of the recent events and how the Government has responded to them merely suggests that the administration in Somaliland is not only incompetent, monotonous and infertile but rather that it lacks strategic vision and scores own goals far too many times.

I, on behalf of those who care about Somaliland, request the administration to:

- Release the arrested human right lawyers and anyone else detained in connection with this matter immediately.

- Restore the dignity of the nation of Somaliland and wash their hands off the Samsam case either by releasing her or bringing hard evidence to prove that she was involved in espionage activities.

- To refrain in the future from arresting journalists and other humanitarian activists involved in safeguarding the rights and general welfare of the people without bringing criminal charges prior to their arrest and ensuring that every person is entitled to be treated fairly in the eyes of the law.

- To put an end to the culture of arbitrary arrests of civilians and members of the public and abide the rule of law that govern our nation.

- To run the political affairs of the country responsibly and with due respect of people of Somaliland and in pursuit of their common political interests and aspirations and not otherwise the contrary

Finally, I want to make clear that it's not for me to judge whether Samsam and Omer are innocent or not but one thing I know for a fact is that they are both human beings and that they are rightly entitled to be treated with dignity and respect. Remember the old adage everyone is innocent until proven guilty.

As for the government of Somaliland, my advice to them is that there are far more important challenges and issues that are facing our country today than Samsam and her co-defendant. So, it is about time you got your priorities right and concentrated your efforts and resources where they are needed most.

Ahmed Yussuf, London

Source: 08 2004Source: The Somaliland Times, Hargeysa, in English

Djibouti opposition party would recognize Somaliland if it wins poll

The recent announcement of the Djibouti opposition Party PDD led by Muhammad Daud Shihim that it would recognize the internationally frozen sovereignty of Somaliland if it wins the upcoming election in April 2005 is one of those precious statements that make history and open new political doors.

Both the governments of the former president of Djibouti, Hasan Guleid Aptidon, and its current President, Ismail Omar Guelleh, have amply demonstrated what can only be described as a deep-rooted hatred for the people of Somaliland. This is not just a wild accusation but could be proven by the political actions that the successive Djibouti governments have been taking against the people of Somaliland.

To start with, during the dictatorship of the former Gen Muhammad Siyad Barre, the Djibouti government has constituted itself as a sharp instrument in Barre's killing machine, rounding up Somalilanders in Djibouti and handing them over to Barre's border troops who summarily executed them and dumped them in mass graves. The Djibouti security forces, under Ismail Omar Guelleh then, went as far as grabbing Somalilanders fleeing toward the Ethiopian border and whisked them back into Somalia where the captured people were murdered in cold blood.

These are not fabricated propaganda to make either the Djibouti leadership or its people look bad in the eyes of the people of Somaliland or the rest of the world. These are indisputable facts.

Some good-hearted people would definitely say that raking over the dead ashes of the past would not do anyone any good. That is true, but such a sentiment would made good sense, if the government of Djibouti stopped its damaging policies toward Somaliland. But in the face of ceaseless hostilities, it does no harm to remind the government of Djibouti, that the people of Somaliland have a sense of history.

In addition, ever since the fall of the former dictator of Somalia on the evening of 26 January 1991, the government of Djibouti has been falling over each other to reconstruct government for "the whole of Somalia," deliberately disregarding the existence of the Republic of Somaliland. Not only that but the government of Djibouti has been trying to put back in power those who were the biggest cogs in Barre's killing machine.

When the people of Somaliland declared the regaining of its independence on 18 May, 1991 by nullifying the Union Act of 1960, the Djibouti government announced the same day that it would not recognize the new government of Somaliland. As it happened Djibouti remains the only government still on record to have publicly declared policy of a non-recognition of Somaliland. Other governments tactfully maintain silence on this issue.

The stand of the government of Djibouti toward Somaliland cannot be justified on principle, a belief that it wants an eventual Greater Somalia for it opted for its sovereignty when it gained independence from France in 1977 instead of joining the Republic of Somalia which consisted of the 1960 union of Somaliland and Somalia.

Why then does the government of Djibouti want to hurt so badly Somaliland's chances for recognition by working so hard for establishing a government for Somalia (South), which then claims to represent "all of Somalia," including Somaliland, consisting of warmed-over ex-Barre men and women who could hardly represent the people in the Somalia (South), let alone Somaliland?

That is a yet unsolved puzzle as the government of Djibouti does not explain its seemingly irrational stand against Somaliland. Logically, Djibouti should have been on the side of the people of Somaliland whose people have a web of undeletable ties since time unmemorable with the people of Djibouti. The government of Djibouti would do well to think foremost of the interests of its people that are intricately linked with those of the people of Somaliland, as well as those of Somalia, not in these crisis-ridden times but in the future for centuries to come.

Source: 09 December, 2004

The Trial Of Zamzam Ahmed Dualeh Resumes But Justice Remains Elusive

by Coalition for Justice and Peace in Somaliland
For additional information, please contact Ibrahim Haji Musa: 429 251

The trial of Zamzam Ahmed Dualeh, the 17-year old girl whose detention and trial has confronted the justice system in Somaliland with a series of challenges, resumed at Hargeisa regional court on Monday, 6 December, together with her co-defendant, Omer Jama Warsame. The trial had been indefinitely suspended by the presiding judge, Abdirahman Jama Hayaan, on 24 November, after he had summarily sentenced the four defence lawyers to three years in prison, allegedly for disturbance of the court. Four members of the Coalition for Justice and Peace in Somaliland (CJPS), which has been supporting the legal defence of the two detainees, attended Monday's hearing. In light of the grave and widespread irregularities which were, again, apparent in the proceedings, the Coalition remains pessimistic, for the reasons detailed below, that justice will be done.

The Coalition is concerned that the trial on Monday reflected a legal strategy which effectively aims to remove the discussion from the courts to the political arena, with serious implications for the justice system in Somaliland. Having failed, despite repeated efforts, to provoke a confrontation outside the court with their supporters, which might have justified postponement of the trial, the government then moved to silence their lawyers through imprisonment. Now, after a few hours where they had no legal representation, no opportunity to call their own witnesses or to cross examine those for the prosecution, Zamzam and Omer are to be judged on Saturday 11 December. There are fears that they will indeed be sentenced on Saturday, and that they may then be "pardoned" by President Dahir Rayale.

The Lack of Legal Representation

With their four lawyers in prison, Zamzam and Omer were left to defend themselves, despite the gravity of the charges they face. According to the judge, a letter had been sent to the two detainees, and their families, informing them of the date of the hearing. But neither Zamzam nor Omer, who have been incarcerated in Hargeisa central prison since September, had received such notice and therefore had no opportunity to hire new lawyers. Nor did their families know of the impending hearing. Zamzam's mother and Omer's wife found out at the last minute through informal channels. The Coalition itself had no prior knowledge of the trial as no information had been given to the public.

The judge offered the detainees a choice: they could either act as their own lawyers and allow the proceedings to continue, or the trial could be postponed while they sought out new lawyers. Anxious to put their ordeal behind them, and hoping for an early release, Zamzam and Omer chose to lead their own defence.

Judge Hayaan continues to preside over the case, notwithstanding the criticisms levelled at him following his decision to sentence Zamzam and Omer's lawyers. Moreover, the prosecutor, Yusuf Abdi Kahin, whose conduct was questioned by the defence lawyers during the previous session, was once again given a free hand to interrogate Zamzam and Omer-this time in the absence of their lawyers. Despite the intimidating circumstances, including the absence of the many relatives and supporters who had attended the court previously, the two detainees held their ground and argued their case as best as they could.

The Prosecution

As in the past, the prosecution produced witnesses, for the most part CID officers involved in interrogating the detainees, who repeated the claims that Zamzam and Omer were part of a conspiracy to murder the Vice President, had visited his residence for the purpose of surveillance, and that they had become suspicious when Zamzam repeatedly changed her name, details and clan identity. No new or material evidence was produced. No independent witnesses came forward to lend support to the prosecution's arguments. Their case ended as it had begun, based entirely on the word of CID officers-some of whom have been accused of torturing the detainees and of raping Zamzam-and of the guards in charge of security at the Vice President's home.

The Defendants

Both defendants refuted the prosecution's charges and repeated their previous accusations against the CID for torture, and Zamzam continued to insist that she had suffered rape at the hands of six CID officers. As in the past, she did not hesitate to point out that some of the men involved in the rape included the prosecution's witnesses. On this occasion, she singled out, as she had done on 4 October, a young CID officer who was in the witness stand. Desperate to leave prison, she made a strong appeal to the judge for an early release.

Omer, who had driven Zamzam from Bosasso to Hargeisa in his vehicle for hire, categorically rejected the charge that he had any involvement with espionage and a conspiracy to assassinate the Vice President. He reminded the court that he had in fact been released by the CID after two or three days of questioning in mid-August, and had been re-arrested and charged only after he demanded that the deputy head of the CID, Saeed Mohamed Absiye, who had used his car and damaged the engine, compensate him for his losses.

He related how he had returned to CID headquarters in search of his car after his release and was told that the deputy head of the CID had the keys. Accompanied by a soldier and a mechanic, the car was taken from the CID compound to a garage where the engine was found to be faulty. Omer said he returned to the CID in the company of two parliamentarians to give him moral support. They left empty-handed after an abusive encounter with Absiye. He then, he added, went back on his own, at which point Absiye threatened to have him arrested if he continued to speak about the car. He was, he said, given a serious beating and hand-cuffed, after which he was then driven to Hargeisa central police station where Absiye instructed the police to give him the maximum punishment, which meant that he was held in isolation, denied access and even food for a certain period.

Saeed Mohamed Absiye was due to testify in court for the prosecution on Monday. The hearing was in fact suspended for a while to give him the chance to attend, but he failed to turn up.

Omer told the court that he believes the charges were fabricated to cover up: (1) the injuries he has suffered from the torture; (2) the damage to his car and (3) to divert attention from the circumstances of his re-arrest and long period of imprisonment.

A Denial of Justice

The defendants have not yet had a chance to call a single witness to the stand. All the hearings to date have been devoted to prosecution witnesses. And on Monday, with their lawyers behind bars, and no opportunity to prepare their own defence in advance, they were left in a position of extreme vulnerability. The government has said that their lawyers will have their appeal heard on Thursday, and that the verdict on Zamzam and Omer will be delivered on Saturday. Even if their lawyers win their appeal and are released, there are no further opportunities to put forth arguments, since Saturday is merely to hear the verdict.

When Omer and Zamzam asked the judge about their own complaints against the CID, he told them to "write a letter." The prosecutor himself pointed out that they are not allowed to have pens and paper in prison. Nor are they allowed to talk to visitors in private who could then assist them in composing such a letter. The judge simply repeated the suggestion that they should record their complaints in writing. Yesterday, 7 December, the judge, Hayaan, wrote a letter, a copy of which was given to Zamzam's mother, in which he instructed the head of the central prison to type up the letter "which they will compose themselves", a suggestion that has done little to reassure their families.

The Judge and the Prosecutor

If Somaliland is to improve its justice system, as the members of the Coalition believe it can and must, we urge the Government of Somaliland to address impediments to a fair trial. In this context, we regret the failure of the Chief Justice to respond to the calls which have been made by, amongst others, the detained lawyers, for the disqualification of judge Hayaan from the case, and the removal of the prosecutor, Yusuf Abdi Kahin.

Once again, the Coalition reiterates the calls for the removal of the judge and prosecutor from the case given the consistent and overwhelming proof of the necessary lack of professional ethics. In the case of the judge, his partiality and subservience to the prosecution, which members of the Coalition have witnessed repeatedly, is grounds for transferring the case to another judge.

What is at Stake?

The Coalition for Justice and Peace in Somaliland has been strongly criticised by some within the Government of Somaliland, by sections of the media in Somaliland, and even by some members of civic groups, for attracting "negative publicity" for Somaliland, and thereby damaging its interests.

As individuals and organizations concerned about the promotion of justice, accountability, transparency and peace in Somaliland, we regard it as our civic and moral responsibility as citizens of Somaliland, and our duty as human beings, to try and correct injustice in whatever guise it appears, no matter how difficult and discouraging the challenge might be. Far from jeopardising the future of Somaliland, we believe that we are making a vital and constructive contribution in ensuring that it is being built on solid foundations of which we can all be proud, and which can serve us all, in the years to come. We are concerned that injustices and abuses in themselves constitute a threat to the stability of Somaliland.

A Question of Individual Responsibility

The Coalition has consistently emphasised the importance of a full investigation, a fair trial for Zamzam and Omer, justice for all concerned and the principle of individual culpability. It is clear to us that serious mistakes have been made in the administration of justice, and within the CID, and these mistakes are the responsibility of particular individuals. Zamzam and Omer have also made allegations about torture, and rape in the case of Zamzam, against specific officers within the CID force. Those in charge of the administration of justice, and of the police force, should investigate these accusations, openly and fairly, and take the necessary corrective action for the sake of justice, to distance their institutions from the errors of certain employees and to safeguard the credibility of the offices which have been entrusted to them. When they fail to do so, it is inevitable that the blame will be generalised, to the detriment of Somaliland now, and in the future.

What Can be Done?

To move the process of justice forward, the Coalition for Justice and Peace is putting forward the following recommendations:

- A meaningful trial must be organized immediately in which Zamzam and Omer have legal representation and the opportunity to cross examine witnesses.

- Their defence lawyers must be released immediately and unconditionally.

- The allegations of rape and torture must be urgently and thoroughly investigated and the findings made public. If the allegations of rape are substantiated, the judicial authorities in Somaliland will have the opportunity to set a new standard by bringing a prosecution for rape against public officials.

- Both the judge, Abdirahman Jama Hayaan, and the prosecutor, Yusuf Abdi Kahin, who have lost credibility on the basis of their performance to date, should be replaced with immediate effect.

The Coalition for Justice and Peace in Somaliland, formed recently, brings together organizations and individuals that share a common interest in promoting justice, peace, human rights, the culture of dialogue and the establishment of democratic institutions in Somaliland.

Source: Qaran News, Dec 08 2004

War-lord President

TO: Chairman, African Unity, Addis Ababa, Ethiopia;
CC: President, Republic of Somaliland, Somaliland, Hargeisa;.
Chairman, African Unity, Addis Ababa, Ethiopia;
Secretary General of the Arab League; Cairo, Egypt;
President, International Crisis Group, Helsinki, Finland;
Executive Secretary, Inter-governmental Administration & Development (IGAD),
Djibouti, Republic of Djibouti;
Minister of Foreign Affairs, F.D.R of Ethiopia, Addis Ababa;
Minister of Foreign Affairs, Republic of Djibouti;
Minister of Foreign Affairs of Kenya, D.Republic of Kenya;
CC: President, Republic of Somaliland, Somaliland, Hargeisa;
Chairman, Justice and Welfare Party ( UCID ), Somaliland, Hargeisa;
Chairman, Kulmiye Party, Somaliland, Hargeisa.

From: Mr. Ahmed Muse Gedi (Sanjab),
Secretary General, Justice and Welfare Party,


In pursuance to my numerous articles about the political situation in Somaliland, ( i.e. Former British Somaliland), Republic Of Djibouti (i.e. Former French Somaliland) Southern Somalia ( i.e. Former Italian Somaliland) and the lofty dream of Greater Somalia, I would like to remind the World Community and in particular the authorities wielding the mandate of the above Institutions that their efforts in resolving the protracted anarchy of Southern Somalia has failed to achieve positive results, as a result of the following grounds and should therefore support other mechanisms that can HEAL the MISERY and STOP the on-going dirty-clan-wars:-

--The Clans Charter ( CAHDI_QARAMEED OR CAHDI-BEELEED) adopted in that conference failed to identify ways and means of dismantling territorial fiefdoms carved by 51 war-lords including MAJERTANIA, which was renamed as PUNTLAND from 1998 and headed by the war-lord elected as the President for the so called Transitional Federal Government for Somalia;

--The Charter did not address how the newly elected Transitional Federal Government will reclaim DEFUNCT SOMALI STATE PROPERTIES confiscated by THE 51 WAR-LORDS such as Sea-Ports, Air-Ports, Hospitals, Schools, Offices, Houses and other important properties ;

--The Charter did not address how bring JUSTICE to those who committed war-crimes against their brethren during civil-war period 1981-2004 INCLUDING MEMBERS OF PRESENT PARLIAMENT AND THE ELECTED WAR-LORD;

--It did not explain how individual properties confiscated by war-lords will be returned to the right owners;

--The CHARTER failed to discriminate individuals that committed serious crimes against humanity during the period dirty- clan-wars were being waged in Southern Somalia ( i.e. 1981-2004 };

--The peace making Organs like IGAD, E.E.C and Arab League should not have approved the election of the most hated war-lord among Southern Somalis as President, since he has committed many crimes against humanity. Qabqable Abdullahi is known as a ruthless psychopath OBSESSED FOR POWER for a period of 40 years and whose main objective will be based on the formula of FACISM ( i.e. divide an rule) inherited from Italian Colonial Administrations that engineered the CRUMBLE OF SOMALI REPUBLIC;

--If the objectives of IGAD mission was to resolve the ANARCHY in Southern Somalia it has failed and in reality what they have achieved will complicate the prevailing situation and will make future peace reconciliation efforts more difficult than what it is today, if not futile;

--. It is sad and annoying to report that the representatives of certain countries of IGAD are well conversant that some war-lords who are known as the BUTCHERS of HARGEISA, MOGADISHU, BAIDOA, GABILE, BERBERA, BURCO, ERIGAVO, KISMAYO, BOSSASSO, JOWHAR AND MANY URBAN CENTRES have been selected as members of Parliament in the so called Transitional Federal Government For SOMALIA. As a matter of fact most of the common people in Somalia were awaiting Human Rights Activists to hunt for them and bring them to the International Criminal Court in The Hague for the crimes they committed against humanity. A good example of these characters are GENERAL MORGAN, GENERAL GANI AND COL. ABDILLAHI Yusuf Ahmed etc...etc;

--!93 of the 275 of the Parliamentarians elected (i.e. 70%) are either known war-lords or their closest CRONIES, who will never promote or support development programs or projects, intended to improve the well being of the general public. Most of them are from the ruling elite of the defunct Siad Barre's Regime or newly promoted thugs by the war-lords. 25 % of the elected parliamentarians are Somali Kenyans, Somali Djiboutians or Somali Ethiopians, who have never resided in former Somali Republic Territory nor have shown any interest to live there. They were just bunch of fraudsters merely entrusted to make income from selling their respective voting power;

--IGAD did not require the outgoing TNG to submit to the Peace reconciliation conference their operational activities for the period of 3 years and did not require them to handing-over assets they acquired while in power to the elected FTGS. Of course assets were financed from the donations channeled by the Donors tax payers i.e. EEC, USA, Arab League and IGAD countries.


On the basis of the above facts and many other weaknesses, the protracted 14th Reconciliation conference for Southern Somalis which was held in Nairobi over the past two years did not produce any positive results to the common Somali citizens. This conference has actually promoted the WAR_CRIMINALS (i.e. the war-lords), who committed multiple crimes against humanity over the past 23 years, because it has empowered the war-lords and their CRONIES as Parliamentarians and President. Thus any National, Regional or International Authorities that deem such deplorable results as satisfactory should be considered by common Somalis as their ENEMY and should never trust their baseless propaganda, which will endeavor to promote the so called TFGS (i.e. Transitional Federal Government for Somalia) as their future Government. Under the present leadership political instability in Southern Somalia will prevail and the on-going inter-clan wars will increase and thus make prevailing economic, social and political environment much worse.

The leaders of Southern Somalia should accept prevailing realities in Somaliland and avoid the mistakes made by the TNG and the armed Militia FROM MAJEERTAYNIYA led by Qabqable Dagaal Abdillahi Yusuf who spent considerable resources and efforts in destabilizing the political stability of Somaliland during 2000-2004. Somaliland will have a political dialogue only when a legal government from Southern Somalia RECOGNIZES THE INDEPENCENCE OF SOMALILAND. Somalilanders liberated their country at high cost during 1981-1991, after waging a bitter armed struggle against the Regime of Siad Barre under the leadership of SNM and will defend its territory at any cost under the leadership of its elected Government.


1. For my Brothers and sisters in Southern Somalia, I will suggest to them that to organize themselves seriously and reconvene a REAL RECONCILIATION CONFERENCE inside the country, in a manner similar to the MECHANISM USED BY SOMALILAND CLANS in resolving their differences and constituting a National Government of their choice without any influence from Foreign Governments. Experience learned from the PERFORMANCES of the out-going TNG tell us that that a bogus Government constituted in Foreign Soil will never become an effective National Government, which can easily gain the trust and support of the masses.

2. It is unfortunate for Somaliland Government and it is citizens that the same war-lord whose militia invaded two Regions of its territory has become the President of the TFGS. This reality will jeopardize peaceful co-existence with our brothers and sister in Southern Somalia. Somaliland is therefore obliged to secure its borders without further delay and invest most of the resources it can avail on the defense of it is integrity. Somaliland Government and the Opposition Parties should mobilize their supporters in defending their freedom which cost them loss of over 100,000 lives and 100s of million$ of their properties. I have no doubt in my mind that Qabqable Abdillahi's priority is to EXPORT DIRTY-CLAN- WARS to the peace loving Republic of Somaliland as soon as his Government on EXILE returns some where in Southern Somalia. He will try his level best to work-out power sharing mechanism with some of the LUGEONAIRES FROM SOMALILAND and their cronies who will endeavor to destabilize the prevailing political democratization processes that are in progress in Somaliland. Any more time wasted by Somaliland Government will amount to a golden opportunity lost and that will definitely trigger loss of trust and unwanted consequences.

Source: report , December 08, 2004 - 12:14

The Somaliland Parliament Debating Election Bill

The Deputy Speaker of Somaliland parliament Mr. Abdiqadir Jirde has presented to the members of the parliament the Parliamentary Election Bill for a debate. The Bill is identical to the previous Local government and Presidential election bills, except for two major points (a) the manner the parliament seats are divided between regions, parties and communities, and (b) the demarcation of the district boundary.

The Deputy said the members have only the following three options to choose from with regard to the first point and their decision must be finalized no later than close of business December 13th, 2004.

1 - The 1960 parliamentary seats allocation times 2.5 for each region

2 - The current allocation of parliament seats that is based on clan formula

3 - The total number of votes will be divided by 82 seats and each region will get a share of the seats that is equivalent to its total votes.

The demarcation of the district boundary is linked to the first point (a) and will be determined based on the option (one of the three) selected.

The parliament will decide within the next few days how the people will be represented in Somaliland and the balance of power between regions, communities, and least of all the parties. Needless to say it is absolutely necessary that they get it right regardless of what option is ultimately chosen and that the communities, regions and parties feel their interest will be protected under the new formula to allocate parliament representation.

This is also an opportunity for the Somaliland citizens in the Diaspora to contribute to the process and draw from their experiences in the countries that have adopted them as citizens. The international community is watching how Somaliland conducts its business and it is extremely important that Somaliland leaders and political establishment must always keep the national interest at heart during the negotiation process.

Source: UNICEF Somalia/04-003-R.Muse-NWZ


Now 17, Faduma has hopes of being a politician and leading the fight against landmines.

Girl mine victim's dream for education takes root

Nairobi, December 2004 - In 1995 an eight year old girl faced an audience of hundreds of people from all over the world at an international conference in Geneva and spoke passionately about her plight caused by a landmine that had blown of her legs at an early age.

The venue was an international landmines consultative meeting organized by the UN. The girl was from Northwest Somalia (`Somaliland') and she movingly told participants how her life had been changed by the incident when she was just four years old.

Undeterred and unfazed by the audience before her, the little girl went on to make her case heard not only for her sake, but for other victims of landmines: she informed her audience that although she had thereafter obtained artificial limbs, her desire for an education had not been met as she was unable to attend school because the one nearest to her home in Hargeisa, `Somaliland', was on top of a rocky hill about one kilometre away. Obviously, her disability made the hike impossible and hers was a plea for hearing.

Her plea did not go unheeded and luckily for her, UNICEF was represented by its then Deputy Director, Dr Richard Jolly at the conference and she got to meet him. Soon, word of her moving predicament got to the UNICEF Executive Director who as a result pledged UNICEF's assistance to Faduma. In July 1995, Dr. Richard Jolly, directed then head of UNICEF's Somalia office, the late Pierce Gerety, to ensure Faduma Bihi received her right to education.

Thereafter, UNICEF's office in Somalia went to work and considered various options that would enable Faduma to attend school. The options included: home tutoring, arranging transport support, moving Faduma's family closer to a school or building a small community school in Faduma's name, within a short walking distance from her home. The latter was eventually selected as the most suitable and least disruptive to Faduma's life, as well that of her guardians.

Since Faduma had already lost both her father and mother, it would also mean that she would not be plucked out of her community. In addition, such a school would also hold out benefits for Faduma's friends and numerous other disadvantaged and out-of-school children in her neighborhood. Luckily for UNICEF, the local community also bought into the idea and pledged material and financial contributions.

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Faduma a decade ago with Edna Adan Ismail, currently Somaliland's Foreign Minister. The little girl who addressed a gathering in Geneva in 1995 now attends secondary school.

By February 1996, words had turned into action: two classrooms, one early childhood care room, one office room and one watchman's room had been constructed turning into reality the dream of Faduma going to school. By September 1996, the school had 196 pupils of whom about half were girls with three out of four teachers in the school being female. Today, eight years later, the school has five teachers of whom one is female. Faduma too has grown into a mature 17-year-old now attending a secondary school. Her yearnings not only gave her hope, but also extended opportunities to many other children.

The construction of the school was more than just a UNICEF effort. It also involved the local Ahmed Dagah community, the Hargeisa city mayor's office and the local Ministry of Education. The community's contribution was through the donation of 6000 square metres of land and planting of trees in the school compound. The Hargeisa mayor's office donated $21,328, school furniture and took care of landscaping while UNICEF contributed $32,102 to cover 70 per cent of costs of building materials. The Ministry of Education in turn pledged to cover the recruitment of a school head, three teachers and one watchman and the recurrent budget of the school.

UNICEF currently provides textbooks, teacher's guides and education kits to the school. It also supports the training of teachers on the new curriculum.

Faduma Bihi is now in the first year of Ilais Secondary School about five km northwest of her home in the Somaliland capital Hargeisa. The foundation UNICEF and her community laid for her and other children has not been in vain. It has also been a lesson on the challenges that many children maimed by landmines face and the need to support them and their communities.

Faduma who has four brothers has been under the care of aunt who also has seven other children to care. Having grown in time also means that Faduma has grown in perspective.

Currently and as the world continues to wage war against landmines at the Nairobi Summit on a Mine-Free World, away in Somaliland, the little girl who addressed a conference in Geneva years ago has grown older and is a member of women's organization called HAN in Somali, literally translated into '' Women with Disability and Children's Organization.'' Faduma's dream is to be a politician: '' I want to take up the fight against the manufacture of landmines,'' she says.

For a girl who eight years ago moved UNICEF to build a school for her and her community, her latest dream could still be achieved, and the world needs to take notice of her yearnings and those of others like her.


Education: Early years

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Somalia has some of the lowest enrolment rates in the world.

Somalia - one of the harshest places on the planet, an extreme environment that presents huge challenges to its people just in terms of simple survival. The combination of a hostile, predominantly arid environment, difficult terrain with settlements scattered over vast distances, the legacy of a nomadic way of life and a civil conflict that has shattered social structures and exacerbated poverty add up to mean that a Somali child's chances of surviving to adulthood are among the lowest of children anywhere in the world. Add to this the fact that the odds of the child's mother dying during pregnancy or in childbirth are also extremely high. These high death rates stem from the interaction of a number of causes set within a complex socio-political context , but are largely attributable to disease, dehydration, malnutrition, lack of safe water, and poor sanitation.

Diarrhoeal disease-related dehydration, respiratory infections and malaria are the main killers of infants and young children, together accounting for more than half of all child deaths. Cholera is endemic in Somalia, with the threat of outbreaks recurring annually during the "season" from December to May, when in many crowded communities the pre-conditions are set as a result of critical water shortage.The major underlying causes of diarrhoea are the lack of access to safe water, and poor food and domestic hygiene. In a survey carried out in 2000, it was found that almost a quarter of children aged under five years had diarrhoea in the two weeks preceding the survey-a very high rate.

Malnutrition is a chronic problem in all areas, and becomes acute when areas are struck by drought or flood, or where localized conflict flares up, scattering populations. A persistent shortage of food (mainly due to successive droughts and conflicts), low quality diet, poor feeding practices and inadequate home management practices contribute to many children being inadequately nourished.
c UNICEF Somalia/02-09-Taylor
One of the greatest hinderances to girls' enrolment is that traditionally they assist their mothers in bearing the burden of domestic labour and are often sent to work to generate income for the family.

Neonatal tetanus and other birth-related problems are a further cause of many infant deaths, while measles and its complications result in widespread illness. Immunization coverage is not yet sufficient to prevent measles outbreaks. Susceptibility to measles is compounded by poor nutrition and transmission is rapid where living conditions are crowded, resulting in a high death rate.

Though data are lacking, Somalia is among countries with the highest incidence of tuberculosis in the world. Overcrowded conditions in camps where many displaced people are living , general lack of treatment facilities, poor quality drugs and malnutrition keep tuberculosis as one of the country's main killer diseases.

Inadequate water and sanitation provision cost lives

Lack of access to safe water is a striking feature in almost all parts of Somalia. Probably less than 1 in every 5 households has reliable access to safe water throughout the year. A result of erratic rainfall patterns which are responsible for both droughts and floods, this climatic causation has been compounded by the destruction and looting of water supply installations during the civil war, by depredation during continuing conflicts, and through the general lack of maintenance of existing infrastructure.

Less than 50 per cent of the population of Somalia lives in households with sanitary means of excreta disposal. Poor hygiene and environmental sanitation are major causes of diseases such as cholera among children and women. The impact of poor environmental sanitation is particularly felt in the cities, towns, large villages, and other places where people are living in close proximity to each other with waste disposal adjacent to dwellings. Lack of garbage collection facilities is another factor affecting the urban environment and polluting water sources, along with the proliferation of plastic refuse bags.


Some dynamic progress has however been made in the field of health. In the last two years, Somalia has stepped up its polio eradication drive as part of the global polio eradication effort. No cases of the wild polio virus have been reported since October 2002 and there is hope that in the next two years Somalia may be certified polio free if no more cases are reported.


Education: Primary school years

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Teacher and pupils in class in 2001. Since 2002, at least 7,000 teachers have undergone in service training conducted by UNICEF and partners in the new curriculum.

Somalia today is a country where schooling is available to very few children. A child of primary school age has only about a one in five chance of attending school. As a result of the collapse of the central government in 1991 and the ensuing long years of conflict schools were destroyed, looted and abandoned. Only now is rehabilitation of the damaged buildings beginning to take place and currently there are only 1,192 schools operational in the country, the majority concentrated around and in urban areas. Most schools are financed from fees or other forms of support from parents and communities, with some input from external agencies.The total enrolment figure is some 286,808 students, placing Somalia firmly among the countries with the lowest enrolment rates in the world.

For a girl child in Somalia the prospects of attending school are even poorer: the Survey of Primary Schools in Somalia for 2002-2003 showed that only slightly over one third, or 36 per cent, of pupils are girls at the lower primary school levels. Since the 2002/3 survey, there has been very little progress toward reducing the gender disparity, which increases rapidly in higher grades.

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Boys in class in 2001. UNICEF continues to provide quality education materials to schools, training for teachers and other education professionals, and support community education committees.

Results of previous school surveys reflect the same pattern. The low enrolment and high drop-out rates of girls in most areas are due to a combination of traditional attitudes, timing of classes and economic considerations.

Education prospects for children are, encouragingly, much better than a decade ago and although still low, the figures for school enrolment are on track to continue increasing. In 2002, all primary school teachers teaching the lower grades (one through four) received intensive training to improve their skills and techniques. A process of curriculum development brought Somalis from different parts of the country to consensus on the question of a national syllabi for grades one through four. This new curriculum and syllabus, developed by Somalis in collaboration with local and international partners over the last few years, is now in place, with textbooks in six subjects distributed to all operational schools.



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Young girls and women like these caught on camera in 2000 in Somalia normally trek long distances in search of water for domestic use. UNICEF's seeks to lessen their burden by providing adequate water supplies in urban and rural areas.

Among the youth many have known nothing but conflict and hardship for most of their lives. Many children and youth have suffered displacement and have observed, experienced and sometimes participated in violence. A majority have never experienced normal, stable social relationships and systems of governance. Since the deterioration of the educational system during the conflict period many youth in the teenage age range have never been to school, and are illiterate or only semi-literate. Lack of optimism about the possibilities the future holds for them is common among this group.

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A young, displaced girl carries a pile of firewood pile during floods in Central and Southern Somalia in 1997. UNICEF seeks to ensure that action is taken to alleviate the negative effects of severe emergencies on activities such as education.

There are growing categories of vulnerable children who are in need of special care and protection including:

1. Those who have been displaced within the country, such as people driven from their homes by conflict, drought, floods, or other factors;

2. Children from minority groups, the very poor, orphans, disabled children, working children;

3. Children living on the streets, militia children and children in conflict with the law.

Girls are especially disadvantaged in most of these categories. Gender discrimination is deeply rooted in the traditional socio-cultural structures of Somali society and is a formidable barrier to women's participation in decision-making and access to resources.


Health Issues

UNICEF in its Health programme seeks to strengthen childcare services, provide safe motherhood and ensure children are immunized.

Infant, child and maternal mortality rates in Somalia are among the highest in the world. Diarrhoeal disease-related dehydration, respiratory infections and malaria are the main killers of infants and young children, together accounting for more than half of all child deaths. Cholera is endemic in Somalia, with outbreaks occurring annually from December to June. The major underlying causes of diarrhoea are the lack of access to safe water and poor food and domestic hygiene. In the 2000 multiple indicator cluster survey, it was found that almost 24 per cent of children under five years of age had diarrhoea in the two weeks preceding the survey.

Though data is lacking, Somalia remains among countries with the highest incidence of tuberculosis in the world. Overcrowded camps and lack of treatment facilities, unsystematic and poor quality drugs and high rates of malnutrition keep tuberculosis as one of the main killer diseases in the country.

Diarrhoeal disease-related dehydration, respiratory infections and malaria are the main killers of infants and young children in Somalia, together accounting for more than half of all child deaths.

Neonatal tetanus and other birth-related problems contribute significantly to infant mortality, while measles and its complications result in widespread illness and numerous child deaths when outbreaks occur. Susceptibility to measles is compounded by poor nutritional status, and transmission is rapid in crowded living conditions such as congested urban/peri-urban areas and camps for displaced people. Immunization coverage is not yet sufficient to prevent measles outbreaks.

Reproductive health is a major problem in Somalia, with a maternal mortality rate of 1,600 per 100,000 placing Somali women among the most high-risk groups in the world. Haemorrhage, prolonged and obstructed labour, infections and eclampsia (toxemia that may occur in late pregnancy) are the major causes of death at childbirth. Anaemia and female genital mutilation (infibulation) have a direct impact on, and aggravate these conditions. Poor antenatal, delivery and postnatal care, with an almost complete lack of emergency obstetric referral care for birth complications, further contribute to these high rates of mortality and disability.


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These Somali girls photographed in 2003 have reason to smile: no polio cases were reported in 2003, some six years after UNICEF and WHO launched a campaign to eradicate polio. If the trend holds, Somalia could be certified polio free in the next few years

The UNICEF Health Programme in Somalia is comprised of three projects:
* Strengthening childcare services,
* Safe motherhood, and
* Child immunization.

Access, utilization and the quality of essential health services are enhanced in each through support to an increasing number of facilities offering a minimum package of care.

Providing basic health care services is complemented by supporting the development of institutional capacities, including training health care personnel, supporting policy development and continued health sector reform. In the future, cost-sharing approaches will be expanded, while ensuring that safety nets for the most vulnerable groups continue to exist.

Insecurity and poor access makes Somalia one of the most challenging countries in the world in which humanitarian agencies operate. Immunization campaigns must employ innovative methods to reach population groups that are sometimes volatile and often hard to reach. Highly mobile nomadic groups increase the logistic complications.

The Expanded Programme on Immunization (EPI) through routine immunization and polio National Immunization Days (NIDS), aims to protect a progressively larger group of children against vaccine-preventable diseases. Polio eradication efforts will continue at an expanded level to ensure the eradication of the virus from Somalia.

UNICEF continues to provide supplies such as basic drugs, insecticide-treated nets to prevent malaria, vaccines and medical equipment, while ensuring timely and effective response during emergencies. Special emphasis is placed on safe motherhood practices, support to ante-natal care, home delivery assistance and emergency obstetric care.

The school health project will be expanded in conjunction with the education programme. Information dissemination and health education continues through community health workers, traditional birth attendants and media channels.

In all interventions, UNICEF works closely with its Somalia Aid Coordination Body health sector partners, local authorities, the private sector and community-based organizations.

EPI acceleration

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A health worker uses a megaphone to invite residents of the Yaqshid district in Mogadishu to immunize their children during a visit by a UNICEF-assisted mobile medical unit in 1996.

'Expanded programme on immunization (EPI) acceleration' is the approach used for immunization in Somalia. In the past, routine EPI activities, in which children were brought to health facilities to be immunized, proved inadequate in preventing recurrent epidemics of vaccine-preventable disease throughout the country.

Insecurity and poor access makes Somalia one of the most challenging places in the world in which humanitarian agencies operate. Vaccination campaigns must employ innovative ways to reach populations that are sometimes volatile and often hard to reach.

Consequently, UNICEF and partner health agencies in Somalia agreed in late 2000 that, given the current instability and breakdown in health services in the country, a different approach was required to ensure the immunization of children at high risk of contracting preventable diseases. This led to the development of the 'EPI acceleration' concept.

EPI acceleration involves organizing EPI immunization activities in select towns. Here, teams of vaccinators go to specific locations where children can be brought. A social mobilizer alerts the community about the presence of the teams and the mothers/guardians bring the children. The exercise takes place in each town for five days in a month, over a period of three months.


c UNICEF Somalia/01-130-Taylor
Happy woman and children. Though the maternal mortality rates in Somalia are among the highest in the world, UNICEF through its health programme seeks to ensure a brighter future for mothers and children like these in the picture taken in 2001.

UNICEF Somalia has embarked on a five year programme covering the period 2004 to 2008. Key results of the health programme during the 2001 to 2003 UNICEF country programme for Somalia included the following:

1. Providing essential drugs and medical equipment to health centres.

2. Training medical staff in supervision and monitoring.

3. Preventing and controlling outbreaks of malaria, measles, meningitis and cholera through immunization and related awareness campaigns, training health staff, and providing vaccines and cold chain supplies.

4. Reducing the number of reported cases of wild polio virus from eight in 2001, to zero as of October 2003. This was achieved through polio eradication efforts in collaboration with the World Health Organization (WHO), National Immunization Days (NIDS) and associated activities.

5. Improving the availability and use of essential supplies, particularly clean delivery kits, for safe home delivery and obstetric care.

6. Improving the capacity of local authorities to manage health care systems, through training, assisting in the development of health sector policies and establishing standards.

Health services and sector reform

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Immunization day at the health centre in the village of Hunshaley, in Northern Somalia in 1997.

Efforts to support Somalia's health system continue. Partnership agreements with local authorities and non-governmental organizations are the primary way health services are supported. Drugs and medical supplies for the primary health care sector throughout the country are procured and delivered. Some 400 health facilities including hospitals, maternal and child health centres and health posts receive essential drugs and basic medical equipment through UNICEF and its partners. Improvements have been made in the number of facilities being supervised and in the quality of services rendered.

Health sector reform

After six years of operation, the health reform process is making progress. In the Northwest area, a health policy and five-year strategic health plan are being applied throughout with a national professional health council providing oversight.

UNICEF assistance for decentralizing health management structures has included supporting regional workshops focused on improving the staff management and coordination skills.

Cost recovery to bring funds back into the health sector has been introduced in 39 out of 48 maternal and child health centres in the region, with the remainder following shortly. The funds generated will mostly be used for infrastructure maintenance and staff incentives.

The reform process in the Northeast area has been negatively affected by the internal constitutional crisis and when these activities will be resumed depends largely on achieving peace and stability in the region.


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A woman holds her baby and the child's immunization card as they wait in line during an immunization session at the Nageye Maternal and Child Health Centre in the Karani District of Mogadishu in 1996.

Immunization coverage, despite being generally low for all antigens (any substance used to provoke an immune response in the human body) is reaching an increased number of children and mothers through the Expanded Programme on Immunization (EPI). A targeted 'acceleration' approach in highly-populated areas is being used to reach more people.

Routine immunization for all antigens is continuing in health centres, with special consideration being given to polio National Immunization Days (NIDs). In 2003, EPI acceleration efforts have included more urban centres to further raise immunization coverage.

A campaign to eradicate polio

Gains have been made in Somalia during the years since 1997 when UNICEF and the World Health Organization (WHO) launched the `National Immunization Days' campaign concept to eradicate polio, but work must continue to ensure success.

There has been a steady drop in polio cases since 2000, when an outbreak of 46 cases was reported. By 2002, circulation of the virus had reduced so that only three cases in and around Mogadishu were reported. No wild virus cases have been reported so far in 2003.

Disease control

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A baby receives a dose of vitamin A during a visit by a UNICEF-assisted mobile medical unit to the Yaqshid District of Mogadishu in 1996.

Cholera is endemic in Somalia. Outbreaks occur annually from December to June (corresponding to the dry season) and are linked to the contamination of water sources. Outbreaks tend to concentrate in urban areas, in the densely populated camps for internally displaced persons (IDP), and are further exacerbated by the combination of malnutrition and prevalent communicable diseases.

UNICEF, the World Health Organization (WHO), non-governmental organizations (NGOs) and local authorities respond by collaborating in regional cholera task forces. Cholera supplies and chlorine tablets to purify water are made available by UNICEF to all health centres treating cholera patients.

In 2003, UNICEF distributed chlorine, sachets of Oral Rehydration Salt (ORS) used to combat dehydration caused by diarrhoea, cholera kits and other medical supplies, while WHO supplied ringer lactate (a solution that is given intravenously to treat severely dehydratated patients). Cholera task forces responded to several outbreaks between January and June, primarily in Mogadishu, Bossaso and Kismayo. Organizations worked together to improve case management, raise awareness and ensure that water sources were chlorinated.

Cholera is not the only problem brought about by flooding. Since the 1997-98 floods, there has been an increase in malaria cases accompanied by chloroquine resistance. To combat the disease, UNICEF distributes insecticide-treated mosquito nets (ITNs) and malaria kits to maternal child health centres (MCHs) during the rainy season. Some 80,000 insecticide-treated mosquito nets have been distributed to communities to date. National and international NGOs work with UNICEF to make ITNs available.

Reproductive health and safe motherhood

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A girl stands beside a long queue of women waiting to be attended to outside the UNICEF-assisted maternal and child health clinic in the village of Rabdure in 2000.

The maternal mortality rate (MMR) in Somalia, among the highest in the world, dismally reflects how years of conflict have resulted in virtually all basic facilities - such as referral hospitals, maternal and child health (MCH) facilities and services - being damaged or totally destroyed.

Two workshops were held in 2002 to review this chronic situation and to provide recommendations for follow-up. Improvements focusing on safe motherhood included action to support home deliveries and enhance obstetric care through health facilities. Priority was given to developing curricula for midwives, and subsequent training was carried out with the World Health Organization (WHO).

Clean delivery kits include items to help ensure sanitary and safe conditions for a woman in labour and those assisting with the birth. The kits frequently contain a plastic sheet, soap, a two-sided clean razor blade, cord ties, and even pictorial instructions on how to deliver a child.

Following the successful design and pre-testing of the clean delivery kits in 2003, some 26,000 kits have been distributed to 99 maternal and child health facilities that offer antenatal care throughout Somalia.

The clean delivery kits are sold at subsidized prices and the revenue generated from the kits is helping health centres support staff and rehabilitate facilities. Dec-05-2004.

Somaliland: Could the Enemy be from Within?

I am writing this letter not only because I am concerned about what is happening back home, but I also know that there are so many other Somalilanders who are equally worried about the recent developments in our beloved country. I want to express my concern and sense of disgust over the recent imprisonment of four Human Rights Lawyers and the way, in general, the Government of Somaliland, the Police and the Judicial system have handled the case regarding the arrest and allegations of rape of a young woman accused of espionage and terrorism. The arrest of this young girl and the subsequent imprisonment of Human Rights Lawyers have sent shockwaves of anger and repulsion throughout the world and we, as citizens of Somaliland, feel ashamed and cannot take pride in belonging to a nation whose Government and Justice system have been implicated in accusations of Human Rights violation. This is unacceptable and in contrary to everything that Somaliland should stand for.

One simply has to weigh the amount of negative criticism this case has already attracted from international circles and spheres, including Human Right watchdogs to even contemplate the magnitude of the political damage this latest incident has done to the country. Is it really worthy the trouble and the tarnishing of our great nation, our democracy, our Judicial system and governance that we have built and been praised for to be undermined by the incompetence of our own administration which is doing more of what it was not supposed to do and less of the things that could do good to the nation-building.

It seems to me that the people who are involved in this case cannot see beyond their noses let alone foreseeing the possible consequences of their actions. The damage that they have done to the country is so serious and beyond repair that Amnesty International has written a damning report about the case and is now demanding from the Somaliland government to come up with explanation of how this happened. The question we really need to ask ourselves now is: Is this what the people of Somaliland deserve after years of struggle and hard work?

The recent imprisonment of the four Human Rights lawyers is the latest of a series of plunders involving arrests and unlawful detentions of prominent Somaliland citizens who, through their line of work, have been on the vanguard of our democratic vision. Such include editor-in-chief of Jamhuuriya Newspaper, Mr Hassan Yusuf who was detained by the police only a few months ago. These and number of other incidents of similar nature have characterized Somaliland as a country where human right violation is a commonplace and freedom of press remains under threat.

Considering the pattern and the careful timing of these incidents occurring with passing resemblance with one another and their similitude in having the effect of portraying Somaliland Government in this tyrannical outline, one could innocently take the view that all these are part and parcel of some crafty and highly sinister political conspiracy premeditated by individual cells within the administration who, for their own reasons, appear to have a different agenda of some sort.

The idea of suggesting that the enemy could be from within may sound absurd yet it remains a popular view hugely subscribed to now by many people who think the chief architect of this so-called crafty and politically self-subversive agenda is more likely to be the administration in Somaliland itself than it being the work of an external enemy.

For I know it just too well and any fool knows it does not take a genius for an entire political apparatus of a country to be so načve and gullible not to think that the imprisonment of journalists and Human Right activists can easily be interpreted as a violation of human rights and sign of systematic repression of democratic values. The accusations of this nature can also raise serious concerns amongst the international community as well as having the potentials to blemish the political outlook of the country especially in such a high time when Somaliland is facing new challenges.

The allegation of rape whether true or not and the subsequent arrests of the Human rights activists are already costing Somaliland great deal and so much is at stake that Somaliland under the present circumstance cannot afford to err on the fundamentals of its own democratic values.

So why is it that the authorities in Somaliland have in the first place allowed this matter to drag on this long that they have even found themselves at loggerheads with their elite?

Why is it that we, the Somalilanders in Diaspora, tend to think as with many other politically non-aligned people outside the country feel, that the administration in Somaliland is doing things far too wrong too often and too many times than innocent incompetence can justify for the past two years? Why is it that the Government acts erratically each time something politically sensitive happens or even appears to be on the horizon without actually having any direct impact on us?

Why is it that Riyaale's administration jumps before the whistle blows and yet slows the race in actions like it did when Abdillahi.Yusuf was elected in Kenya as the president of Somalia?

Why talk the war talk and do the dove's work in war when in Lasanod, integral part of Somaliland territory still bears the brunt of being a conquered territory by troops belonging to Puntland following their incursion on Somaliland army bases stationed within Somaliland territories?

Why allow the alleged scandal over the rape allegations of a young to drag on and be used as moral propaganda warfare against Somaliland? Why allow the good name of our nation to be implicated in a shameful disparage like this?

Considering the pattern of the recent events and how the Government has responded to them merely suggests that the administration in Somaliland is not only incompetent, monotonous and infertile but rather that it lacks strategic vision and scores own goals far too many times.

I, on behalf of those who care about Somaliland, request the administration to:

* Release the arrested human right lawyers and anyone else detained in connection with this matter immediately.

* Restore the dignity of the nation of Somaliland and wash their hands off the Samsam case either by releasing her or bringing hard evidence to prove that she was involved in espionage activities.

* To refrain in the future from arresting journalists and other humanitarian activists involved in safeguarding the rights and general welfare of the people without bringing criminal charges prior to their arrest and ensuring that every person is entitled to be treated fairly in the eyes of the law.

* To put an end to the culture of arbitrary arrests of civilians and members of the public and abide the rule of law that govern our nation.

* To run the political affairs of the country responsibly and with due respect of people of Somaliland and in pursuit of their common political interests and aspirations and not otherwise the contrary.

Finally, I want to make clear that it's not for me to judge whether Samsam and Omer are innocent or not but one thing I know for a fact is that they are both human beings and that they are rightly entitled to be treated with dignity and respect. Remember the old adage everyone is innocent until proven guilty.

As for the government of Somaliland, my advice to them is that there are far more important challenges and issues that are facing our country today than Samsam and her co-defendant. So, it is about time you got your priorities right and concentrated your efforts and resources where they are needed most.

Ahmed Yussuf, London, E-mail:

Source: October 2004

HIV/AIDS Care and Support Training conducted in The Hargeissa Group Hospital

A comprehensive care and support workshop for people living with HIV/AIDS training has been completed. Among the main components of the training were:
  • HIV Virus (structure, pathogenesis etc)
  • Medical care (Appropriate diagnosis, Anti-retroviral Treatment, treatment/prevention of common opportunistic infection, HIV, prevention of mother to child transmission, post exposure profolactic, common side effects, drug interactions etc)
  • Nutrition
  • Counseling
  • Psychosocial Support
  • Ethics and legal issues
The Health care officials trained in this group compromised of 4 doctors and 6 nurses who were viewed as the core of their respective institutions and thus very crucial for scaling up Anti-retroviral drugs programmes in Somaliland.

The training was conducted at The Hargeisa Group Hospital, for a period of three weeks, to strengthen HIV care and support, and to improve vital linkages between HIV prevention and care services. This will hopefully provide better services to improve the quality of life of people and families affected by HIV/AIDS, and to help mitigate the impact of the disease.

Stigma and discrimination are among the greatest obstacles of prevention and care of those infected and/or affected by HIV/AIDS. Provision of good quality care and humanely treatment of people living with HIV/AIDS by healthcare workers will reduce the stigma, discrimination, violations of human rights, transmission, misconceptions and myths rampant in the communities and will lead to more disclosures of the infected and/or affected.

WHO Somalia arranged for this training with coordination of other UN organizations and AMREF.

The challenges that will be faced and needed to overcome in order to succeed are to

  • Provide patients ART for the rest of their life
  • Establish a properly functioning pipeline for the drugs
  • Strengthening adherence to medication
  • Strict follow up and monitoring for cases of side effects
Other regions will benefit from these workshops in the near future as soon as resources are available. This will eventually lead to standardization of the quality of services being administered due to the use of the same guidelines and techniques regarding ART.

Roll Back Malaria Coordinator visits Jowhar

9th August 2004. The Roll Back Malaria (RBM) coordinator Dr. Butt, visited Jowhar and conducted a meeting with the WHO Malaria National focal point, Dr. Said Farah and Malaria Focal Point of Central and South zone, Dr. Elmi for ongoing malaria control activities and finalized for the refresher training on Anti-Malarial Drugs (AMD) efficacy study. This study will primarily be targeting the Jowhar, Jamame, Janale and the Luq team who are to train on new protocol for AMDs in Jowhar due to security constrains in Luq. However, the study will still be done Luq despite the security concerns. Procurement of artesunate and other materials were completed. All required items for study would be distributed to four sentinel sites to start the study.

In other reports, the team leader of the Dila Mother and Child Health Centre (MHC) was helped to train as a Malaria Microscopist. This project was made possible by the Somalia Red Crescent Society (SRCS) who also supplied the reagents needed for the basic laboratory services. This is consistent with the MOU signed earlier this year in Nairobi between WHO and SRCS.

Nutritional screening in Sool and Sanaag regions

September 2004-Persistent drought and a lack of a comprehensive management system for the fragile natural resource base has precipitated serious land degradation and increased human suffering to pastoralists in the Sool Plateau and Gebi Valley in Sool, Sanaag and Togdheer regions of Somaliland.

After participating in an inter-agency meeting at the Ministry of Health and Labour (MOHL), WHO embarked on a nutritional screening and immunization endeavour that covered a total of 6,000 children in the Sool and Sanaag Regions. A total of 71 villages were visited. Only 18.3% Of the children screened were found to be within the 70-79% WFH factor. 1.5% of the population was found to be under the70% WFH factor and/or are suffering from Oedema.

Results of the nutrition screening in Sool and Sanaag Regions. September 2004
District Number of villages
Children screened 70-79% WFH % <70% and/or
oedema WFH
Taleh 11 311 60 19.3 8 0.3
Hudun 12 1,108 171 15.5 48 4.3
Las-Anod 7 380 72 19.0 10 2.6
Sool Total 30 1,799 338 18.8 66 3.7
Erigavo 16 1,336 223 17.4 24 1.8
Eil-Afwein 17 1,374 290 21 0 0
Badhan 10 1,437 256 17.8 0 0
Sanaag Total 41 4,147 769 18.5 24 0.6
TOTAL 71 5,946 1,107 18.6 90 1.5
A parallel programme where immunization of children under five years of age and pregnant mothers took place in the same regions. Results of the programme are as follows:

Results of immunization of under five children in the health and nutrition drought emergency in September 2004
District Immunization: under one year Immunization of above one year
Badhan 76 46 23 68 24 99 100 172 147 16
Eil Afwein 112 13 6 25 0 235 192 168 235 0
Erigavo 196 81 41 54 196 368 169 223 282 196
Sanaag total 384 140 70 147 220 702 461 563 664 212
Taleh 7 0 3 14 7 41 48 115 38 6
Las-anod 45 45 3 33 0 201 41 40 201 0
Hudun 52 0 0 35 37 227 126 138 226 1
Sool total 104 45 6 82 44 469 215 293 465 7
WHO Somalia Host Country Cooperation Strategy (CCS) Meeting

7th October 2004- Dr. Ibrahim Betelmal hosted the various UN agencies, partners and stakeholders in a week long workshop in a bid to develop a strategy to improve WHO's performance at the country level for the next 4-6 years. Invited guests included heads of the three former health authorities in Somalia who are joined in the cause for bringing better health to Somalia. Also present were representatives from the Eastern Mediterranean Regional office, Cairo and the WHO Head Office, Geneve.

"Somalia is the only country from the complex countries that the CCS is being started and will serve as a good example to others." Dr. Susan Basiri, head of tour delegation.

Since all the UN partners and WHO have a common goal, the meeting was designed to have open discussions in order to form a close relationship with WHO and improve its performance at a National level.


WHO Collaborative Programmes: HIV/AIDS

Background/ Epidemiology

Due to the HIV/AIDS scourge already hitting the disease-ridden countries in Sub-Saharan Africa, health-related agencies have decided to prioritize the HIV/AIDS program in Somalia.

It is estimated that among ante-natal clinic attendants at least 30% had one or more Sexually Transmitted Infections (STI) symptoms; out of which, according to a study carried out in Bosasso (north-east) and Hargeisa (north-west), the HIV prevalence rates among the attendants were 1% and 3% respectively.

A survey on Knowledge, Attitudes, Practices and Beliefs (KAPB) carried out in north-west Somalia in 1999 revealed a 0.9% HIV positivity in the general population, 4.6% among tuberculosis patients and 47% HIV prevalence among a number of voluntarily tested sex workers. Among antenatal women, HIV and syphilis positivities were 0.8% and 1.8% respectively.

In 2002, during blood screening tests carried out, almost 1% of blood donors tested positive for HIV infection. In the same year, prevalence of the virus in TB patients was known to increase to more than 10%, from 6.7% in 1999. In one TB centre, in fact, 15% of all patients were reported to be full-blown AIDS patients.

Modes of Transmission

Despite the fact that there is scant data on the disease, HIV in adults in Somalia is believed to be spread mainly due to heterosexual transmission.

In children, infections are known to have been acquired from the mother during pregnancy, delivery or at postnatal stage through breastfeeding. It can also be assumed that a small percentage of the Somali population has acquired HIV infection through blood transfusion or through injury with contaminated instruments.

Factors Fuelling the Spread of HIV/AIDS

Factors such as the civil strife, backed with poverty, low literacy levels and the extensive mobility of population - such as refugees/returnees from neighboring high-burden countries and internally displaced people - pose additional threats and risks to the increase in prevalence of the infection.

A behavioral survey carried out in 1999 in Somalia showed that although people are aware of the epidemic, there are a lot of misconceptions and specific preventive measures cannot be identified. Yet another survey carried out in 2000 supports this fact by stating that a mere two percent of women correctly knew of two ways of avoiding HIV infection.

Response towards the Epidemic

The Somalia Aid Coordination Body (SACB), through the defacto UN expanded country theme group for Somalia, has already embarked on the development of a strategic plan on HIV/AIDS; which is foreseen to be finalized later in 2003. WHO and UNICEF play a technical lead role in this process.

In its efforts to curb further spread of STIs, WHO has joined forces with other UN agencies (such as UNICEF, UNFPA, UNIFEM and UNDP), international non-governmental organizations (INGOs) and local authorities to embark on a project to introduce syndromic management of STIs, surveillance and trainings. WHO also proposes to initiate trainings on treatment and care to AIDS patients.

Thirteen STI pilot sites identified in all three zones thus far have been supplied with STD kits, drugs, manuals, diagnostic flow charts, reporting forms and tally sheets, etc. To date, at the sentinel sites, a total of 50 health and community social workers have participated in a training course on counseling skills. Another 15 health workers were supported in undertaking a Training of Trainers course. In addition, WHO is ensuring blood safety in 27 hospitals, by the provision of Human Immuno-Deficiency Virus (HIV) rapid testing kits.

In 2001, WHO carried out a number of trainings on syndromic management for health professionals in facilities in Garowe, Baidoa and Mogadishu, while UNICEF carried out trainings in Hargeisa. An information package was developed and translated into Somali in order to complement the trainings. In addition, a workshop was held on the clinical management of HIV/AIDS in central and southern zones.

During meetings held in Nairobi with health authorities from Somalia in the first week of March 2003, it was unanimously agreed to develop one policy document on HIV/AIDS. Hopefully, this will act as a `springboard' for unified health policies in the future in Somalia.

In an aim to lobby for donor support, WHO plans to submit a proposal to the Global Fund for the HIV/AIDS programme, in addition to the malaria and TB programmes.

Contact Person: Dr. Abdulla Elgizoli, Medical Officer, HIV/AIDS, E-mail:


WHO Collaborative Programmes: Tuberculosis

TB is a major Public Health problem in Somalia. Some of the factors contributing to this are:
* No central authority for the last 10 years
* Complete collapse of the public health care and delivery system
* Large number of internally displaced persons and refugees living in harsh and sub-optional living conditions
* Uncontrolled private sector; leading to haphazard and incorrect diagnosis and treatment of TB
* Poverty and poor nutrition contribute as risk factors in many zones, especially in the Central and South


* Estimated total population for Somalia is 6 million
* Estimated incidence rate of all forms of TB is 374/ 100,000 population
* Estimated incidence rate of smear positive cases is 162/ 100,000 population
* Estimated DOTS case detection rate of smear positive cases in 2001 is 46%
* DOTS expansion-DOTS coverage at the end of 1996 was 44% and at the end of 2000 was 73%. DOTS coverage at the end of 2001 was 100%
* As of December 2001, 15 international NGOs and 2 local authorities were known to support and operate 27 TB centres-in all 18 regions in Somalia. This brought the DOTS coverage to an impressive 100%
* The number of TB patients put under DOTS increased from 2504 cases in 1995 to 6619 in 2001
* The average smear conversion rates at most centres is 92%
* Success rates have increased from 71% in 1996 to 88% in 2000
* Cross-border movement of TB cases usually occurs between zones of Ethiopia, Djibouti and NW Somalia. A system of cross-border referrals and management of transferred cases has been developed and is in place

Operational Aspects

The key players that have been contributed to the success of implementing DOTS in a complex emergency country situation are:

1. Leadership role taken by WHO :

* In the absence of a central government to act as a partner, WHO has taken up the lead role in TB control
* WHO provides technical support through:

- production and implementation of standard TB treatment guidelines and standard operating procedures adopted by all partners
- provision of good quality anti-TB drugs to all centres and maintenance of an uninterrupted supply line
- provision of laboratory equipment and consumables to all centres including limited quality control on smear microscopy
- maintenance of a central database in which all quarterly data is entered, compiled, analyses and feedback provided through a TB newsletter and annual report
- technical support for all other aspects in TB control

2. Effective partnership and collaboration :

* There being no effective central authority, partnership and collaboration is maintained through the Somalia Aid Coordination Body (SACB). The SACB consists of UN agencies, NGOs, donors and local authorities
* The main donor providing support to NGOs is the European Commission (EC)
* Many local Somali NGOs support the community awareness and social mobilisation activities of TB centres

3. Highly motivated individuals :

All TB centres are manned and run by Somali nationals who are highly motivated and committed to serve their communities to address the major problem of TB. This is an important factor in the sustainability of the programme.

4. Facilitating social network system :

* One of the main factors of case holding of TB cases is the `Dameen' or `Guarantor system' which has been adopted at all TB centres in Somalia

* Before any case is taken on treatment the patient has to produce a guarantor-who will assure shelter, food and guarantee that the patient will come for regular treatment and that he/she will be responsible to retrieve the patient in case of default

* The Dameen is usually a relative, elder or responsible person in the community

* Implementation of the Dameen system varies from zone to zone, with certain zones taking legal action in case of default and others taking a refundable deposit as an assurance


* Expansion and continuation of DOTS projects is dependent on the frequently changing security situation in the country

* TB projects are at times stopped due to discontinuation of donor support to the implementing NGO * Since there is no central government, there is no control over private practitioners or pharmacies. As a result, TB treatment in the private sector is haphazard and indiscriminate. This may contribute to multi drug resistance

* High cost of logistics and transportation of supplies and equipment


TB control in Somalia is challenging in the complex circumstances of political instability and insecurity. However, analysis of the DOTS outcome data, collaborated with field supervisory visits, suggests that DOTS is applied correctly at most centres and demonstrates that DOTS works just as effectively in complex emergency countries as Somalia

With this experience, countries in similar situations can adopt some of the key facilitating factors to their country situation and donors can have more confidence in funding TB control programmes in countries with similar conditions.


WHO Collaborative Programmes: Water and sanitation

Only 23% of Somalis have access to clean water. The Gu (April - June) and Deyr (October - November) rains may temporarily ease the recent extreme water shortages. Traditional catchment areas, where rainfall is collected, do not last longer than 3 months and are often contaminated. Only a bare 35% of Somalia's boreholes are estimated to be functional. Furthermore, only 48.5 % of the population have adequate excreta disposal facilities. This is due to the lack of maintenance, poor construction, or conflict-related destruction. The limited access to safe water, poor hygiene and sanitation are potential pre-curses to water-borne diseases.

UNICEF is the lead agency in the water and sanitation sector and is active in the rehabilitation and chlorination of wells, as well as in establishing urban water systems. Several NGOs - ACF, MSF Spain and IMC just to name a few - are also active and participate in the Somalia Aid Coordination Body (SACB) Water and Environmental Sanitation (WES). WHO's main thrust in the water and sanitation sector is technical support for in-line chlorination and water-harvesting systems and water testing.

Main achievements
1. Establishment of chlorination plants at Hargeisa, Berbera and Bosaso. Water testing laboratory equipment has been supplied to four regions in the country.

2. Provision of technical support through a full time sanitary engineer in the NW.

Main constraints

1. Deteriorating security situation in the Central and Southern zones, limits expansion efforts into these areas

2. Water contamination at household level which is aggravated by the loss of effectiveness of residual chlorine during transportation in metal drums which contributes to the continued transmission of cholera and other diarrhoeal diseases in major urban settings.


To ensure safe water supply in urban areas.

Source: Nov 04 2004/ The Republican

"Somaliland Will get 1/3 of 2005 UN-partner Projects": Mr.Jan Egeland

Hargeisa (The Rep)- Mr. Jan Egeland UN Under Secretary General for Humanitarian Affairs and Emergency Relief Coordinator in a press conference held at Ambassador Hotel last night stated that he is carrying a message of solidarity from the international community to refugees, returnees and displaced people for whom the UN seeks funding from donor countries.

Mr. Egeland told the press that he met the displaced, returnees and Somaliland authorities and that he was impressed by the remarkable job done by UN and other international agencies, with little funding they had and also how Somaliland authorities managed to receive 400,000 returnees.

The delegation led by Mr. Egeland is the highest delegation from the UN to visit the country for many years.

The UN Undersecretary General for Humanitarian Affairs asserted that their achievements will be more remarkable next year and that he hopes the transitional government will establish itself in Somalia next year.

Mr. Egeland concluded his opening statement that he will have Hargeisa tomorrow, after meeting president Dahir Rayale Kahin (Last night) to visit different parts of Somalia and then proceed to Nairobi to launch a consolidated appeals process for Somalia and Somaliland in which UN and its partners are requesting $164,463,170 from donor countries.

In response to what prompted his visit at this time, he said, "This is a turning point for the whole region. Somaliland has been neglected by the international community for long. Returnees have been neglected. We are trying to change situation and advocate for more aid to Somalia and Somaliland. We hope that the leaders in the country will behave more responsibly in the future. On my return I will report back to the Secretary General and I wish you all a brighter future."

Mr. Jan Egeland told the press that 1/3 of the 93 projects, they are trying to get funds for, will be for Somaliland. He said, "We hope we will get 100% of the fund and not 50% as before".

In answer to whether UN will assist in the mechanism for drought removal Mr. Egeland stated that drought has caused great devastation and that many families lost everything that remained in the floods that followed. He said, "We will try to assist in changing the environment conditions. We will explain to the world about the changes needed and we hope we will get funding for that."

The UN Undersecretary General for Humanitarian told the press in answers to the role of the ARAB league that the Arab League is an important ally for the UN and Somaliland, and that Somaliland is in their own region.

The Arab League representative who is a member of the delegation added saying, "The ARAB League continues to support Somalia. At present $450,000,000 is in the ARAB League box for Somalia. In March, in another meeting in Tunis a special fund will be arranged for Somalia."

The League representative, who spoke fluent Somali declined to say how much of this aid will go to Somaliland in the last 14 years, but he said, "Your minister for livestock is in Saudi Arabia. He might reach an agreement today. Meat of your livestock is tasty. It is exported from Berbera and Bosaso go to Oman and the UAE".

In answer to what his delegation expected to accomplish in this visit Mr. Egeland said, "The visit was long overdue. I had frequent contact with the country. I provided [late] president Egal with the first satellite phone in the early 90's. We intend to achieve more attention to Somalia and Somaliland, to get more funding and more momentum to the peace process".

The UN Undersecretary General for Humanitarian Affairs and his delegation who will leave for Garowe today concluded his press conference at Ambassador Hotel hoping that new internal conflicts or clan fights will not start, for these fights belong to the middle ages.

International Day for Disabled persons

Hargeisa (The Rep)- The international day of Disabled Persons, December 3, will be celebrated today in Hargeisa and the rest of the main cities of Somaliland.

1. On 17 December 1991, the General Assembly adopted the principles for the Protection of the Persons with Mental illness and for the Improvement of Mental Health Care.

2. 3 December 1982, UN General Assembly adopted the "World Program of Action Concerning Disabled Persons".

3. 16 December 1976 the UN member States proclaimed the year 1981 as the International Year of Disabled Persons.

4. 9 December 1975, the General Assembly adopted the Declaration on the Rights of Disabled Persons emphasizing the civil and political rights of disabled persons.

5. 20 December 1971, the General Assembly adopted the Declaration on the rights of mentally retarded persons.

"We can have good relations with Somalia as other neighbours" - Rayale

Hargeisa (The Rep)- Somaliland president Dahir Rayale Kahin gave an official dinner to UN Undersecretary General for Humanitarian Affairs Mr. Jan Egeland and his delegation which included a representative from the Arab league, Denmark and UNDP representative for Somaliland and Somalia, Mr. Geylard.

Mr. Abdi Idiris Du'ale, spokesman for the presidency in a press release stated that president Dahir Rayale Kahin, welcomed the delegation and told them that the visit will enable them to see the real situation on the ground.

Speaking about the history of the country said, "Somaliland is not a region that succeeded from Somalia, but a country that united with Somalia to form greater Somalia. We reclaimed our sovereignty after a strong opposition to the formation of Greater Somalia and a lot of suffering of genocide against our people."

Mr. Rayale told the delegation about the reconciliation of Somaliland communities, the reclamation of sovereignty and the rebuilding of the country and the democratization process that will be completed with the parliamentary election scheduled for March 29/2005.

In response to Mbagathi process and the formation of government for Somalia, president Rayale said, "Somaliland's sovereignty is not negotiable, for the people have declared that in the referendum for the constitution. We can have good relations as neighboring states with Somalia; similar to the one Somaliland has with its other neighbors. Our rebuilding the nation with minimal support from outside, can be a good example for Africa."

Mr. Jan Egeland thanked for the warm reception he and his delegation were given and told the president that he will report back to the UN secretary General.

Parliamentary Election as top priority by politicians and intellectuals

Hargeisa(The Rep)-With less than 120 days remaining for the voting day (March 29/05) parliamentary election seems to take priority in the political scene and the intellectual center, with suspicion among some of the ordinary people that the election might not be held at the scheduled date.

President Dahir Riyale Kahin speaking to the Republican said, "The Parliamentary elections will be held as scheduled. Many people might doubt that. This is nothing new for many did not believe that the local government and presidential election will be held. They were held and with great success as well. The parliamentary will be held".

Spokesman for the main opposition party KULMIYE Mr. Mohamed Ahmed Kahin speaking at the end of a 4 day workshop - organized by Somaliland Journalists Association SOLJA ' financed by BBC and attended by The National Electoral Commission, the 3 political parties and the local media - said, " The parliamentary elections has to be held according to schedule. They cannot be postponed. Doing that means that Somaliland has abandoned its sovereignty as a separate state and is favouring reunion with Somalia once again. This should never happen and we won't allow it to happen".

An intellectual conference attended by more than 80 intellectuals from the six regions of the country, members of the state councils, political parties and civic societies discussed in great depth on the completion of the electoral law - which is a prerogative for it. As the main obstacle for completion of the law is how to share the seats, the conference discussed what had been proposed by the 3 parties and is regarded here to be logical alternatives. That is dividing the seats on the basis of the 1960 Somaliland election; having the same number of seats they have in parliament now or holding the election and then dividing the seats according to the number of votes in each region. The conference organized by the Academy for Peace and Development will continue its study in the regions before giving any final recommendation. It also proposed amendment of the constitution.

Chairman of the House of Elders Mr. Suleiman Mohamoud Aden said, "Members of this House should know that the parliamentary election is a national issue that must be given full prioritization. What has been done so far is not a lot and we have to unite to remove all obstacles, which can be done only through unity of purpose and working towards the same goal".

Mr. Abdilkadir Jirde, Deputy Chairman of the House of Representatives said, "The full responsibility of the completion of the election law is ours. It is the most important issue in the country. We have to give it top priority and remove all obstacles, for the recognition of the country depends on it".

Mr. Ahmed Hagi Ali Adami said, "We have brought an expert from El Salvador to help us hold this election, which is a transition from the community based system we used to depend upon, to multi-party system to complete our democratization process".

The Republican in its editorial last week stated some members (no names mentioned) to be sabotaging the completion of the election and other members -who believe that they have no chance to be elected - to be responsible for the delay .The paper also added that all tactics have been used to postpone completion of the electoral law and that the people will not accept any further delay.

Government for Somalia Denied Grace of honeymoon

Our Staff Reporter

Mogadishu (Rep)- People in Somaliland are not surprised that the true colours of the most notorious warlord and the monster who have continuously shed the blood of his clansmen in the late 70's or early 80's - when he led a movement - on in the late 90's and the beginning of this century as the absolute supreme despot of Puntland - in the first week of the formation of a government orchestrated by him.

The people of Somalia have not even given the government of Abdillahi Yusuf, the grace of honeymoon, which the majority of elected presidents enjoy.

The opposition against the new government for Somalia is being expressed in different way by members of his cabinet, the Mbagathi parliament members, politicians inside Somalia, intellectuals and the common people.

Ardent supporters of reunion who are on his bandwagon declare that the formation of his government has taken further the realization of his dream. Other members of the cabinet have stated that they will accept their clan, which regard that they have not got their rightful share, to oppose the new government for Somalia.

Members of the Mbagathi parliament has out-rightly stated that the new government of Abdillahi Yusuf will hasten the total collapse of what has come out of 2 years of efforts from the international community and IGAD member states.

Politicians say that clans who were not warmongers or did not have warlords to have been excluded from the government for Somalia. They point out that this will lead to the emergence of new warlords and new armament in communities, who used to advocate for peace.

Though the government of Abdillahi Yusuf is said to be formed on the basis of clans, politicians and members of factions say that it is not balanced, as most cabinet members are his political or clan aliens.

Intellectual in Somalia criticize the new government to be formed from warlords and their associates and weak personalities, who will have no say at all.

Those in the Diaspora say that there are very few new faces in the cabinet and most of the old faces are those who were part of the destruction of Somalia, in the last 13 years or even in the revolutionary era that preceded it.

Most of those who seem to give support or accept the government of Somalia are those who say, "Let us see what they do".

With less than 100 hours after nomination of the cabinet open opposition began in Somalia. In Baidoa, the new government in out-rightly informed in clear words, that they are not welcome. The warning goes as far as telling, members of the clan in Baidoa, that they are not welcome if they are members of the new government.

In Beledwein a large demonstration was held. It was attended by the Regional Authorities as well as members of the society. The demonstrators were shouting against the one cabinet post given to the Hawadleh and urged MP members to resign. They were shouting "Down with Abdillahi Yusuf and his government".

Last but not least, in the capital city of Somalia - Mogadishu - there is an under-current of dissatisfaction of the formation of the cabinet. It is feared that it might surface soon and cause the collapse of the government of the Warlords.

Source: Nov 04 2004

Editorial: TIME IS SHORT

The independence of Somaliland is under attack like never before. This unfortunate situation is compounded by the inertia of our government.

Somaliland has had a number of political opportunities, which it should have capitalized on, but did not. The most recent illustration of this squandering of opportunities was provided by the 'election' of Abdillahi Yusuf as the president of Somalia, following the long running 'peace' conference in Kenya. It was clear that the Somalis who gathered in Kenya shot themselves in the foot by opting for Mr Yusuf, by far the most divisive figure, amongst those seeking the office of the Somali presidency.

We watch in amazement as Mr Yusuf goes from a vicious warlord ill-versed in political niceties, "I did not go to Borama" (while commenting on his assault on Las Anod) to an elder statesman of Somali politics concerned only with the peaceful resolution of political disputes among Somalis while our government watches helplessly.

Our government has said nothing about this. No efforts have been made to point out to the international community that Mr Yusuf is a divisive figure whose conversion to democracy and peaceful dialogue is as unlikey a Damascene conversion as any ever propagated by other dictators anxious to project themselves as somehow worthy of office.

So far, thanks to our political leadership, Somaliland has been on the losing side of the political battles since the 'election' of Mr Yusuf. Time and again we have trumped by a more calculating political adversary, for the fact remains that he has been the one doing all the running, albeit without much succes. We can hardly afford to wait for him to become successful. The time has now come for this government to get its act together. It is time for Somaliland to secure its borders. It is time that this government presented a set of coherent policies as to how they intend to promote Somaliland and counter the problems caused by the 'election' of Mr Yusuf. The government was elected to defend the interests of Somaliland and its people. So far even the most attentive observer would find it difficult to conclude that it is doing just that.

Mr Ghedi has announced his cabinet. All the positions are filled by warlords. Yet our government has not pointed out this to the international community. We have grassroots democracy and a functioning political system. Mr Yusuf's government is unrepresentative and made up of the very people who have brought Somalia to its knees. Our government should protest to the world community that our efforts go unrecognised while those who murder, steal, rape and pillage are rewarded at every twisted turn with money, recognition and pledges of aid and support. It is the diplomacy of the madhouse.

If things do not change, Somaliland cannot afford to endure four more years of stagnation. The opposition parties should not let this government get away with the periodical reiteration of Somaliland sovereignty which just about sums the political program of this minimalist government. Neither this government nor its apologists can seek to justify this administration's inertia on democratic grounds alone.

For it is safe to assume that had the people of Somaliland known that what this president was offering was five years of corruption and inactivity, then they would not have voted for him. If this President and government do not get their act together and set out a comprehensive program of diplomatic action to win recognition from the world community then their sure reward will be the eternal contempt and vilification of the people of Somaliland. They have done nothing to support those Somaliland traditional leaders arrested in Las Anod by the occupying forces of Puntland. This craven failure to act is symptomatic of a government that seems to have no will to defend its borders or its citizens.

A terrible price was paid for the independence of Somaliland. The only way of safeguarding against a repetition of the earlier struggle is for Somaliland now to put forward well thought out measures to avert such a catastrophe from befalling us again.

We note with distaste that the news in Somaliland has been monopolized by the arrest of Samsam and the antics of the judge in her case. The judge arrested the lawyers in court. This caused enormous damage to our credibility in the world. This is hardly the most pressing issue facing our country. Our national survival and place in the world is under threat as never before, yet we are preoccupied with a matter of supreme unimportance. As the colonialists used to distract natives with beads and mirrors as they signed away their land and futures, we are distracted with baubles and beads while Mr Yusuf and his gang of crooks make all the international running.

Our government was elected to fight for the country and lead it to international recognition. It is hard to see what the government has done to achieve these objectives. The time has come for action and clear leadership. We cannot sit back and wait for the world to recognize us, we must take our case to them. It is sad that so little has been accomplished that our people are forced to draw false comfort from the lack of welcome Mr Yusuf received at Mr Arafat's funeral in Cairo, his failure to convince the African Union and others to provide him with the 20,000 troops needed to secure Somalia for him, or his impending expulsion from Kenya. Our government ignores the international realities while they engage in corruption and petty politicking. The government and people of Somaliland, including those in the Diaspora, must get smart and stop allowing Mr Yusuf to make the entire running. We are of the view that Dr Omar Dihod is not the only citizen of Somaliland, yet his is the only voice we hear, albeit occasionally. We fail to capitalize on those successes we do have. If we lose the diplomatic struggle now then another entirely avoidable war may engulf us. We have made so many sacrifices and worked so hard to create a viable democratic state. We cannot allow all that work to be squandered. Our national survival depends on resolute and effective political leadership and diplomacy from all sides of the Somaliland political spectrum. Time is short. We can afford no more mistakes. Only united, decisive leadership can save us from the gathering storm.

Source: Nov 04 2004

Two Somali States Must be Allowed to co-exist

Although not internationally recognized, Somaliland has, in a period of 13 years, been able to put in place all democratic institutions, including a multi-party system, an independent judiciary, an independent press and parliamentary as well as presidential elections to enhance their sovereignty and their robust demand for political recognition. Following independence from Britain in 1960, Somaliland entered into a Union with the former Italian-ruled Somalia, which also gained its independence in 1960. However, Somaliland withdraws from the Union in 1991 after ten years of fighting a liberation war against the forces of the military dictator Mohamed Siad Barre.

In March 2004, Somaliland president Dahir Rayale Kahin visited Britain and spoke with British parliamentarians pleading for the recognition of his country. In his speech he said, "in 1960 Somaliland was recognized by 35 countries including Egypt, Ghana and Libya. They had a good reason, then, to do so. They have as good a reason to do so today." Recently, Chris Mullin, the British ministers in charge of African Affairs, visited Somaliland and made a speech before the joint session of the two chambers of Somaliland parliament, promising that Britain will never be a party to any action that coerces Somaliland's return to a Union with Somalia.

In contrast, for the last 13 years Somalia has been into turmoil with various warlords fighting to advance their political agenda. Thirteen conferences financed by the international community to bring peace in Somalia all failed. Finally, the international community, spear-headed by member-countries of the Inter-governmental Authority on Development (IGAD), put together a program of action which resulted in giving support to one warlord, Abdillahi Yusuf Ahmed. A former leader of Puntland, Abdillahi Yusuf is a military colonel who does not hide his contempt for the democratic process and human rights issues, as long as these principles do not work in his favour. Immediately, after he was crowned in Nairobi as the president of Somalia, he initiated a military result against Somaliland so as to bring it back, by force, to the Union. His forces, which ventured into Somaliland's territory, have caused unnecessary loss of life and bloodshed in the region of Sool, inside the Somaliland before border. This happened on 29 October. In an earlier incident, on 7 December 2002, while the Somaliland president was touring in the town of Las Anod, the forces of Abdillahi Yusuf attempted to assassinate him. This flamed more anger in Somaliland. The recent clashes between the forces of Abdillahi Yusuf and Somaliland have already made the situation more dangerous. At present, both sides are bringing in more reinforcements and for first, Somaliland, whose peace record has been praised by the international community, feels that its very existence in under threat.

Everyone knows the perils of war. The people of Somaliland do not want to see another war again. They have seen and lived through the worst of it. While the African Union (AU) and the IGAD countries have been working hard for two years to see peace and governance return to Somalia, the people of Somaliland are waiting for an answer from the AU and IGAD countries on what they are planning to do to the forces of Abdillahi Yusuf which are occupying parts of Somaliland, and what reward Somaliland deserves for building peace, governance and democracy in a part of the troubled Horn. If the AU and IGAD countries want to see peace and tranquility return to Somalia, and for that matter to the entire Somali Peninsula, they must urgently do two things:

- First, they must demand from Abdilahi Yusuf the immediate withdrawal of his forces from inside Somaliland.

- Second, they must take the lead in recognizing Somaliland, especially now when a recognized government is being established in Somalia - that is they must allow the existence of two Somali states living side by side in peace.

This is the only guarantee for peace in the Horn of Africa. The urgency that has been shown elsewhere in Africa - in Cote d'Ivoire or Darfur, for example - must also be applied to Somaliland. The AU must take the issue of the recognition of Somaliland much more seriously. Otherwise, it will be too late and more difficult when things get out of hand.

By: Dr.Mohamed-Rashid Sheikh Hassan

Source: Nov 04 2004

Casting a Shadow Over the Legal System in Somaliland

Ever since the case of Zamzam Ahmed Dualeh and Omer Jama Warsame became widely known, almost two months after they were detained, a chain of events has unfolded which casts doubt on Somaliland's justice system and the judgement of its political leadership. Every step taken by the law enforcement agencies has only complicated the situation, caused unnecessary suffering and embarrassed the government and Somaliland. Because of the mistakes of these officials, and the failure of the political system to rectify these serious errors, Somaliland is now the focus of human rights organisations worldwide.

Instead of addressing the issue, and tackling the mess the law enforcement bodies created in the first place, the human rights groups and individuals who have shown an interest in the case are now being blamed for the subsequent embarrassment. They are accused, by some quarters, of washing `our dirty linen in public'. No one is saying who dirtied the linen in public in the first place. Doing serious human rights work in Somaliland means working under difficult conditions. Those who choose to stay the course are not motivated by the desire to settle scores with anyone, but to make sure that our country is run in a manner that we can be proud of, and that our citizens get fair trials. Their voices are needed, by both the public and the government.

In this day and age, when there is electronic communication everywhere, whatever happens in one part of the world is immediately known everywhere. The government knows this as well as everyone else. It therefore must take full responsibility for the bad publicity which the case of Zamzam and Omer has brought about for Somaliland. But let me go back to the case and give a brief account of what the case is all about.

Zamzam is a 17 year-old girl who made a fateful trip to Hargeisa where she has a relative, the Minister of Sports for the Government of Somaliland. Upon arriving in Hargeisa, she ended up at the door of the residence of the Vice-President, Ahmed Yussuf Yassin. Some people say that she was looking for girls she met in Bosasso who are related to him. Others argue that she actually mistook the house to that of her uncle, the Minister. She, and Omer, the driver who brought her to Hargeisa, were arrested and accused of espionage and conspiracy to murder the Vice President. The case attracted the attention of some human rights organisations in Hargeisa, and the public, because it sounded too strange to be believed. Given her age, many people were doubtful that she could be engaged in the crime of espionage. However, it was for the courts to decide these issues, as well as the claims of torture that Zamzam and Omer say have levelled against the CID during their captivity, and in the case of Zamzam, of rape.

When concerned citizens and some human rights groups started to attended the trial, it was thought that this might help to ensure fair proceedings and outcome. On the third day of the court proceedings, on 14 October, we were confronted by heavy-handed crack units of the police force who imprisoned five men, including myself, for no reason other then their anger at our presence in court. One of the detainees, Ahmed Dirir, is a member of the Guurti, and as such he enjoys immunity from arrest. He showed his identification card, which he wore around his neck, doing his best to identify himself before he was thrown inside a waiting police car. The bullying tactics of the police, and their disrespect for the citizens in the court, was apparent to all of us who were present.

To my knowledge, nothing has been done up to now about those policemen who not only detained us for no reason, but who also assaulted the wife of the accused man, Omer Jama. On the contrary, the Commander of the Somaliland police forces deliberately falsified the events surrounding our arrest and the court proceedings. In an interview with the BBC, on October 15, he accused us, among other things, of creating a disturbance in the court and derailing the case for political reasons. He also, strangely enough, claimed that Zamzam had admitted the crimes she was accused of in the court. None of this is close to the truth. Zamzam had not pleaded guilty in court. What we do not know is whether she was pressured into a false confession in a secret underground court to which the Commander alone was privy. There are an unconfirmed reports that the sitting Judge etracted a confession from the girl in the police station, an infamous practice during the cruel dictatorship of Siad Barre.

Thereafter, things went from bad to worse. Ramadan came and the case was postponed for a month. But when it reopened, the world was astounded to learn that the four lawyers acting for Zamzam and Omer had themselves been arrested. Suddenly, we were thrown back to the dark moments of our past dictatorship, when our courts were used not dispense justice but to intimidate and suppress the nation.

Any society which fails to stop injustice in time will ultimately pay a high price for that failure. This reminds me a saying of a man who was living in Germany when the Nazis took power. He said something like this.

They came for the Jews and I did not react because I was not a Jew. Then they came for the trade unions and I did not react because I was not a trade unionist. Then they came for the communists and I did not react because I was not a communist. Then they came for the social democrats and I did not react because I was not social democrat. Then they came for me and there was nobody left to defend me.

We are very much aware of the underlying causes which destroyed the all-powerful state machinery of Said Barre. One of the causes was the deliberate flouting of laws by the State itself, when it chose to persecute people because of their clan origin. The other major contributing factor was the acceptance, by the public, of these injustices, no matter how often they occurred, provided their own relatives were not the victims. This indifference to injustice, even when it happens on our doorstep, was and still is, the bane of our society today.

If we do not learn from the mistakes of the past, we are bound to repeat them with devastating consequences. For the public to abide by the laws, the State should be seen to be upholding the justice system. Although many powerful people might not realize this, but it is in the interests of the government that a transparent system of justice is in place. If the public is not convinced that they will get justice within the system, then they will, as we have seen before, resort to whatever other means at their disposal to reach their goals. Only the most ignorant will not know which way that leads us.

Saeed Ahmed Mohamoud is a member of the Coalition for Justice and Peace in Somaliland. E-mail address:

"This Is One Of The Most Forgotten Places In The World," Top UN Official Visiting Hargeisa

Reuters, 03 December, 2004/ By C. Bryson Hull

HARGEISA, Somaliland (Reuters) - Plagued by violence and drought, Somalia is mired in a humanitarian crisis forgotten by most of the world, a top U.N. official said on Friday as he led the world body's first high-level visit in a decade.

Jan Egeland, the U.N. undersecretary-general for humanitarian affairs and humanitarian relief coordinator, started a three-day trip to raise awareness of Somalia's problems by visiting the capital of Somaliland, an autonomous enclave which is unrecognized internationally.

The crisis in Darfur, in the west of Sudan, had drawn much of the world's attention and humanitarian aid, he said.

"This is one of the most forgotten places in the world. Darfur is privileged compared to this," Egeland said as he toured the Ayaha settlement for returning refugees.

Somalia, plunged into a lawless void of militia warfare since a 1991 coup toppled dictator Mohammed Siad Barre, has long been a black hole for many international donors who consider it "hopeless case of continuous conflict with no end in sight", he said.

Somaliland, however, has been relatively peaceful in recent years thanks to stable government and disarmament. Some 500,000 refugees have taken refuge there, but it is a harsh haven.

The Ayaha camp, on a stony slope above the military base from which former dictator Siad Barre's forces directed a 1991 bombing and assault on Hargeisa, is home to at least 700 families and more are soon to move there.

Refugees from the violence that has swept Somalia since 1991 live cramped into tiny huts, feats of rudimentary engineering built from cloth, plastic, flattened metal cans, rope, string, plastic tarpaulin shreds and thatched grass.

"What we have too little of is money and resources. If we could get more money, we could give them houses instead of these ramshackle huts," Egeland said.

He met with Somaliland President Dahir Riyale Kahin and government ministers who complained their efforts to rebuild their shattered region and reintegrate returning refugees were ignored by the world. "We need a lot of assistance and to be credited for what we have done," Riyale said.

"We are ready to contribute to other communities and other Africans in solving their problems; it is a homemade solution."

Egeland urged Riyale to make peace with the new transitional government of Somalia, headed by President Abdullahi Yusuf, considered an enemy of Somaliland because of years of clashes with Yusuf's neighbouring Puntland region.

Somalilanders are vehemently opposed to joining the new government.

"The whole political issue is making it difficult for me to fund-raise because there are some who are reluctant to go beyond humanitarian work until there is a clearer political picture," Egeland told the president.

He remained optimistic, however, that both sides could seize the moment, referring to the formation of the transitional government and the progress made in Somaliland.

"It is the best hope in a decade and this momentum must be used. We hope to build on that momentum and get more attention to Somalia," he said. December 04, 2004 - 09:30


There has been a palpable relief in Hargeisa, the capital of the self-declared Somaliland after the newly elected Somali Prime Minister, Muhammed Gheddi named his cabinet in Nairobi in neighbouring Kenya.

There was a concern in Hargeisa that he might give prominent positions to members from the Isaq and Gadabursi clans of Somaliland in a bid to de-stabilise this northwestern region which declared its independence from the rest of Somalia in 1991 but is so far unrecognised by the outside world.

But the new interim Minister named his 31 member cabinet almost exclusively from the southern Somali clans in order to placate Mogadishu warlords and smooth the way for the return of his government to the Somali capital, something he and the President has so far been unable to do due to security fears.

This was seen as a humiliating snub to those who hail from Somaliland but campaign for a united Somalia. Ismail Hurre `Buba', a prominent member in the last Transitional National Government(TNG) is one of the few northerners in named in Mr. Gheddi's newly appointed cabinet. But he is incandescent that his remit is to run the ministry of `co-operation between the regions', a post he dubbed as `non-existent'. Mr. Buba was widely tipped for the foreign ministry, a portfolio he held with some panache in the last failed TNG government under President Abdul-Qassim Salad Hassan. Instead that post went to yet another southerner - so did the Defense, Finance, Internal affairs, Transport, Education and Trade portfolios. The President, the Prime Minster and the Speaker of the Parliament are also all from the South.

Many in Somaliland recall with bitterness that Southerners dominated the country's politics ever since Ex-British Somaliland voluntarily joined with former Italian Somalia in July 1960 to form a united Somalia.

Others, including some from the South, see an Ethiopian hand in the sidelining of Somalilanders from the new national government. They believe that arch regional foe wants Somaliland to remain separate with the view of preventing the re-emergence of a strong Somalia that can revive the Somali irredentist movements in Ethiopia's eastern regions which led to two major wars between the neighbouring countries in the last forty years.

But others see Mr. Gheddi as a pragmatist who simply realised that Somaliland is unlikely to re-unite with Somalia no matter whom he chooses to his new cabinet. He knows that those Somalilanders participating in the All-Somalia talks in Nairobi do not have much public support in Hargeisa - indeed they are widely seen as irrelevant, even treacherous.

Whatever the truth is Mr. Gheddi abandoned the pretence that his government represents the whole of Somalia thus playing into the hands of those in Somaliland who always claimed the talks in Nairobi were Southern affairs with no relevance for their "country".

Gulaid Ismail,

Source: World Food Programme, 3 Dec 2004

WFP Emergency Report No. 49 of 2004


(a) Heavy rains continued in most parts of Somalia and humanitarian workers in that country have reported that flash floods have resulted in thousands of victims. A joint mission of aid agencies and members from the Local Authority visited affected villages in Middle Shabelle Region. Most roads in the area are completely impassable and thousands of Somali are reported to be in need of food assistance. The team, travelling by boat on the Shabelle River, visited six of the most affected villages along the river and reported that some 2,000 families are in need of immediate assistance, including food.

(b) The Flood Working Group established by the Somalia Aid Coordination Body (SACB) sustained its work inside and outside Somalia reviewing reports on the floods coming from the field and taking appropriate measures. WFP continued to assist the flood victims in Somalia, reaching some 31,000 beneficiaries in Puntland with 550 tons of food and also assisting around 1,080 beneficiaries in Hudur town, South Central Somalia.

(c) The lower/middle Juba region in South Somalia remained with limited access to humanitarian workers due to high insecurity and poor road conditions. Despite these difficulties, WFP continued its efforts in assisting the population. Thus far, more than 1,050 tons of food commodities have been delivered to Kismayo. The final delivery to distribution points in Merere is pending improved road conditions.

(d) The School Feeding Survey carried out by WFP in Somalia for the expansion of the School Feeding programme is completed. A total of 10,000 additional pupils in 44 schools will be supported by WFP starting January 2005.

(e) A high-level UN mission led by Mr Jan Egeland, the Under-Secretary-General for Humanitarian Affairs and Emergency Relief Coordinator, will visit Somalia between 3 and 6 December. The mission plans to visit Hargisa in North Somalia, Growe in Puntland and Wajid in South Somalia and to hold meetings with local authorities, UN Agencies and NGOs. The mission programme also includes site-visits of returnees, IDP settlements and drought-affected areas.


(a) The 14th repatriation convoy to Somaliland this year left Djibouti on 24 November, with 511 persons (79 families). This brings the total number of persons repatriated to Somaliland this year from the two camps in Djibouti ? Ali Addeh and Holl-Holl - to about 8,085 persons (1,632 families). The total number of refugees remaining in three camps in Djibouti amounts to 17,585 ( Ali Added 6,955; Holl-Holl (6,855); and Aour Aoussa (3,775).The next repatriation is scheduled for December.


(b) In Somali Region, further rain in late November has eased the previously critical situation in Gashamo and Aware districts of Degehabour and the southern districts of Boh and Geladin in Warder zone. However, for pastoralists who lost a lot of animals in the extended severe dry season, even these rains will not relieve a very difficult situation in which livelihoods are threatened. Rains have not been sufficient in Denan and East Imi in Gode zone, and needed flooding for agriculture has not happened along the Shabele River and rivers in Afder and Liben zones, despite heavy flooding further downstream in Somalia.

(c) There is growing concern for conditions in the pastoralist Afar region, where the June-September rains were very poor, especially in Zones 1, 2 and 4. Already, unusual livestock movements are taking place much ahead of the usual end of the dry season migration. As in other pastoralist areas, the most vulnerable will be those who have suffered large animal losses in recent years.

(d) Currently WFP is covering approximately half of the needs of the total beneficiaries for November (3.7 million people, 70,000 tons) and December (2.8 million people, 57,000 tons).

Somaliland Appeals For Duch Intervention To Resolve Dispute With Puntland

BBC Monitoring/ 02 December 2004/Source: Radio Hargeysa in Somali 1700 gmt 30 Nov 04

Text of report by Somaliland's Radio Hargeysa on 30 November

A high-powered Somaliland delegation headed by Foreign Minister Ms Edna Adan Isma'il today held talks with senior officials of the Dutch Foreign Ministry. The delegation met ministry officials in charge of Africa and the Horn of Africa regions. The two sides discussed bilateral cooperation.

The Somaliland delegation also raised issues concerning Puntland's interference in Somaliland territories, and urged the government of the Netherlands to intervene.

The Dutch Foreign Ministry officials pledged to raise the issue at the forthcoming African Union-EU joint meeting, scheduled to take place in Addis Ababa soon.

The Somaliland delegation has been touring a number of European countries in the past few days.

The Somaliland delegation officially invited Dutch Foreign Ministry officials to visit Somaliland and familiarize themselves with the situation in Somaliland.

The delegation comprised ministers of foreign affairs, information, the Somaliland ambassador to the Netherlands, chairman of the Somaliland community in the Netherlands and officials of the Netherlands-Somaliland Friendship Society.

S/LAND: Amnesty International Concerned About 16-year Old Girl's Trial And Rape Allegations,and Summary Imprisonment Of Her Defence Lawyers

Source: Amnesty International - USA - 30 November, 2004

Amnesty International is deeply concerned about the current espionage trial, in the Somaliland capital of Hargeisa, of Zamzam Ahmed Dualeh, a 16-year-old school-leaver, and Omar Jama Warsame, a taxi-driver.

They were both arrested in Hargeisa on 15 August 2004 at the residence of the Vice-President, Ahmed Yusuf Yasin, and originally charged with conspiracy to assassinate him, which they denied. Zamzam Ahmed Dualeh has complained she was raped and beaten by police officers, and Omar Jama Warsame has complained he was beaten. The judge dismissed their complaints without any investigation, when they were first brought to court on 4 October.

At the latest court hearing on 24 November, the judge jailed their four defence lawyers for three years for contempt of court, after they requested him to withdraw from the case due to alleged bias.

Amnesty International is concerned that Zamzam Ahmed Dualeh was allegedly tortured by rape and beatings by police officers; that she is being detained and tried as an adult; that Omar Jama Warsame was allegedly tortured by beatings; and that their trial has already fallen far short of international standards of fairness.

Arrest and trial

Zamzam Ahmed Dualeh reportedly claims she went to the Vice-President's residence by mistake when she was looking for the residence of a Vice-Minister to whom she is related. She and her taxi-driver, Omar Jama Warsame, were arrested by security guards. Zamzam Ahmed Dualeh was transferred to the Central Police Station, and later in September to Hargeisa Central Prison, where she is currently detained. Omar Jama Warsame was released soon after arrest but re-arrested a few days later, taken to police custody, and is currently held in the Central Prison.

On 4 October, Zamzam Ahmed Dualeh and Omar Jama Warsame were brought to court in Hargeisa for trial, without legal representation. In the first hearing in court, Zamzam Ahmed Duale is said to have alleged that she was raped and subjected to other torture and ill-treatment by Criminal Investigation Department (CID) officers. She reportedly identified some of the six CID officers whom she claimed had raped her, who were in court as prosecution witnesses. The judge dismissed her allegations of rape and other torture, without ordering any investigation. The judge adjourned the trial to enable both defendants to have legal representation.

The court re-convened on 9 October with four defence lawyers arranged by local human rights defenders to represent them. The prosecution changed the main charge against them to espionage, which carries a maximum 10-year prison sentence. The judge refused bail and adjourned the case until after the court recess during the month of Ramadan.

The trial resumed on 24 November. CID officers who had interrogated Zamzam Ahmed Dualeh are reported to have stated that she had "confessed" to the espionage charge. The charge apparently concerned her role in an alleged conspiracy originating in Puntland, where she had recently left school. However, after verbal exchanges between the defence lawyers and the judge which led to the defence lawyers asking the judge to withdraw from the case on account of alleged bias, the judge convicted the defence lawyers of the offence of "insult to a judge during a hearing". He sentenced all four - Yusuf Ismail Ali, Fawzi Sheikh Yunis Hassan, Abdirahman Ibrahim Alin and Mohamed Said Hirsi - to three years' imprisonment. They were immediately arrested in court and taken to the Central Prison. Their case is now under appeal.

The judge adjourned the trial of Zamzam Ahmed Dualeh and Omar Jama Warsame indefinitely.

Human rights defenders in Somaliland are also themselves at risk of human rights violations on account of their criticisms of this case. During the court hearings in October, three human rights activists from Samo Talis human rights organization and the Academy for Peace and Development were detained outside the court, together with a law professor from the new Hargeisa University and a member of the Somaliland Upper House of Parliament (Gurti). They were released after some hours without being charged. A Samo Talis official was almost arrested at the 24 November court hearing, when he was apparently wrongly accused of speaking in court.

Amnesty International's appeals to the Somaliland authorities

1. The child rights issue

According to her identity document, Zamzam Ahmed Dualeh was born on 14 August 1988 and is thus 16 years old. She is therefore a child, who should, under international human rights standards, be dealt with through procedures specifically applicable to children.

Amnesty International is concerned that Zamzam Ahmed Dualeh as a child of less than 18 years of age is being detained in an adult prison and tried as an adult. International child rights standards require that she be treated in a manner which takes into account her needs and age, and that she be held separately from adults, unless it is considered in her best interest not to do so. In addition, she should be tried under a system of juvenile justice. Amnesty International is requesting that, in order to uphold the principles of child rights protection, and also to ensure that she has all necessary medical treatment, Zamzam Ahmed Dualeh should be provisionally released, rather than detained in an adult prison for a prolonged and indefinite period.

2. Rape and torture allegations

Amnesty International is concerned that the judge arbitrarily dismissed Zamzam Ahmed Dualeh's allegations of rape and other torture in custody, and also Omar Jama Warsame's allegations of torture by beatings. International standards require that their complaints of torture or ill-treatment be promptly and impartially examined by the competent authorities, and that evidence should be obtained and presented in court from medical doctors who have treated or examined them. Two medical examinations were later undertaken by the authorities. The findings of the first have not been disclosed, and the report of the second was reportedly read out in court but not provided to defence counsel.

Amnesty International is requesting that a fully independent inquiry should be established into the rape allegations, in particular, including one or more medical professionals experienced in rape investigations. The international community could be asked to assist with the relevant expertise and access to forensic facilities unavailable locally. The findings of the inquiry should be provided to the court, including defence counsel, and if the allegations are substantiated, those alleged to be responsible for this serious crime must be brought to justice, in procedures which meet international standards of fair trial, and Zamzam Ahmed Dualeh should be adequately compensated.

3. Fair trial

Amnesty International is urgently calling on those responsible for the administration of justice in Somaliland to ensure that Zamzam Ahmed Dualeh and Omar Jama Warsame are given a fair trial by an impartial court in accordance with international standards of fairness.

Amnesty International is concerned about failures of the court up to now to respect international standards of fair trial. International standards of fair trial include the non-admissibility of statements obtained as a result of torture or other cruel, inhuman or degrading treatment; the right to legal defence representation from the time of arrest; the right of lawyers to perform all of their professional functions without intimidation, hindrance, harassment or improper interference; and the right to trial by a competent and impartial court.

Amnesty International is appealing for a review of the case against the four defence lawyers, and the heavy prison sentences imposed on them, when they were reportedly peacefully carrying out their professional functions.


Somaliland declared unilateral independence from the former Somali Republic when Somalia collapsed into civil wars in 1991 after the overthrow of the Siad Barre government, which had committed massive human rights violations, including war crimes, in this north-western part of the country. Somaliland has not so far achieved its objective of international recognition and refused to take part in the Somalia peace talks in Kenya or the Transitional Federal Government about to be established (which includes Puntland).

Since 1991 Somaliland has been the only part of the former Somali Republic to have achieved a broad measure of peace and stability under a civilian multi-party system, although there have been cases of human rights violations.

The Somaliland authorities have been generally welcoming to the development of several active non-governmental human rights organizations. The late President Mohamed Ibrahim Egal and his cabinet of ministers signed Amnesty International's worldwide "Get Up-Sign Up" human rights campaign commitment on the 50th anniversary of the Universal Declaration of Human Rights in 1998. The current President Dahir Riyaale Kahin also attended a reception during an Amnesty International workshop in Hargeisa in 2003 for Somali Human Rights Defenders.

Source: Qaran News, Dec 1 2004

The Shoe Face Duo

The president elect Mr. Abdillahi Yusuf has some tangible success by having an honest conversation with the biggest warlord Mr. Muse Sudi Yallahow about the Somali crisis. The president decided to continue this apparent success with other influential people to soften their stand on his warmongering history, telling those gullible guys that he is born again, and war and conflict creation does no longer remain a viable option for him. He asked for a chit chat with Mr. Jama Abdillahi Galib the leading politician from Somaliland.

President: Mr Galib I thought you were one of the most principled nationalist in Somalia. I never questioned your patriotism to your motherland. Why do you question my patriotism? Recently, I read a piece of news attributed to you, that considers me unpatriotic, and that I have put the nail on the coffin of Somali unity. If you are honest with me and with yourself, you can't deny the fact that both of us worked hard for the unity of Somalia albeit in different capacities. You disowned your peaceful and democratic Somaliland in principle and chose the chaotic and unstable Somalia. On my part, I created Puntland to forestall recognition of Somaliland by claiming half of its territory as my Isir land. It was an effective strategy. If I had not done so Somaliland would have been today an independent sovereign recognized country. Thanks to my patriotism and wisdom, the question of recognition of Somaliland will be far fetched or at best remain a dream for those who do not see the light.

Galib: As you have rightly said I consider myself a true patriotic Somali. I hold to my principles under all circumstances. I do not change with the wind, and self greed does not sway me like some of our warlords like you. I opposed the cession of Somaliland on principle and on the premises that unity is power and Somaliland would be better off with all Somalis together including the three missing Somalis. The five star flag will always remain my idol as long as there is blood in my veins. SHANTA OO ISWAHESHADA EE WACNEYDA CALAN INAY WADAAGAANEE WANAAGSANAYDA, is still rigging in my ears. What about you Mr. president, you claim to be a nationalist, do you still uphold the principle of the five stared flag?

President: Please Mr. Galib, don't you say that loudly lest the Ethiopians intelligence who are constantly eavesdropping us hear that. I will be in hot soup if this song and this conversation come to light in the press. Nowadays it is difficult to hide anything from those who call themselves the press. I can get away if I betray my people, but not them. I owe everything to them. Please have a little common sense or political wisdom . don't discuss the five star thing with me here now. Clinging or upholding to the principle of the five stared flag was the source of all our troubles. You know as much as I know, the most difficult task facing us now, is how to keep the two together, let alone bringing three more headaches. Senseless attempts to bring the five Somalis under one flag, put us in this pitiful, bottomless pit. It is a political aberration or call it nemesis that Zenawi is closer to me than Rayale due to this lopsided principle.

Galib: That is where we differ Mr. President, I love my country and I will do all I can for its unity and independence, but in complete contrast, you don't have an ounce or an iota of nationalism. By definition you are a traitor, because you allied with foreign forces to extract concessions detrimental to the interests of the nation. Who could have ever thought a Somali would consider Somaliland as an enemy and an Ethiopian as a friend. It is a reflection of our sorrowful state of affairs and the tortuous prevalent mentality of our people, but I will stick to my guns.

President: No Mr. Galib you miss the point completely and the gun you are sticking to, is a self destroying gun. Ethiopia, whom you are alluding to, is not our enemy, but our staunch friend. Ethiopia would not have elected me, if they have the slightest doubt, that I will not be in the best interest of Somalia. By throwing their heavy weight behind the strongest man in the race, had all the good intentions and good will for our people. I have been tested to be strong on terrorism in all its forms. I handed a couple of terrorist to Ethiopia and America. None of the aspirant presidential candidates had the guts to do so. They knew, that Somalia needed a man with that track record on cracking down on terror groups with courage and determination, who can at the same time, satisfy the legitimate concerns of our people and our neighbors. Our country is porous and unmanageable at present, and only a strong man with strong ties with the neighboring countries, stands a chance of forming a lasting government. We have to learn history in order to avoid the mistakes of the past. The history that should not repeat itself is the Arta history or legacy. Arta government was a stillbirth, because it did not address one important concern. the legitimate concerns of our neighboring countries. An extremist Islamic state with porous boundary was dangerous and was unacceptable to both Ethiopia and Kenya. Abdulqassim should have known better. He wanted to use Islam for his own nefarious worldly ends. It backfired on him. I'm a political animal and I believe in power, my religion is the magic chair that is the dream of every Somali warlord. Among the 70 or so presidential candidates however, I was the only acceptable choice that satisfied the majority of our parliamentarians as well as our neighbors. The most striking and the most unexpected absurdity, was that almost all Somaliland parliamentarians voted for me, knowing very well, how I fought single handedly with Somaliland's independence. This is to me a clear and unequivocal declaration, that secession is unacceptable to the majority of Somalilanders. Only the guys from Djibouti, did not vote for me. I have a political beef with their leader.a Somali who refuses to be a Somali. Interference of Djibouti in the internal affairs of our country is deplorable. I assure you my friend, as long as I `m your president, I will only allow Ethiopia and Kenya to meddle in our internal affairs, and that will be in our best interest. Otherwise, I will be fiercely independent in our national decision making. Tell me Mr. Galib, how can you build a nation based on trust and harmony between us and our neighboring countries whom we share a common destiny, if you want part of their country. That is not nationalism but greed beyond the legitimate boundary.

Galib: Now that you are the president elect, would you stop fighting with Somaliland? You have already undertaken an unprovoked attack on Somaliland, killing many innocent people. A lot of people firmly believe that the leopard is not changing his stripes in spite of what you said in your acceptance speech. President: In order to rally and rekindle the nationalist sentiment, Somaliland will always remain the common enemy. Since our neighborly enemies expanded into thin air, Somaliland will replace Ethiopia as the only rallying point for the nationalists like you. You see I have to create an enemy to survive, since Ethiopia is out from our enemy list. As far as the leopard skin is concerned, I ever had one. You see me black from top to toe.

Galib: It is not politically sound to put all your eggs in the Ethiopian basket Mr. President?

President: the Ethiopian basket is excellent for me. It worked for me and I better stick with it.

Galib: Mr. President there is a Somali saying, if you want to buy shoes, see the shoes of the guy you are buying the shoes from him. Have you seen the shoes Mr. Zenawi is wearing? It is a fact that Ethiopia is an old kingdom and a military power in the area, yet it is the only government on earth that will never be able to feed its people according to recent reports. It is also one of the most despotic and violent regimes in the area. The per capita of armies are higher than food per capita. The situation in Ethiopia is more deplorable than Somalia. It is the home of famine and depravation. Will that be a role model for you Mr. President? Do you like to wear the same shoes Zenawi is wearing?

President: It is none of my business whether Ethiopia is the home of famine or whether the regime is despotic, as long as I can get as much weapons as I want. I don't tell Ethiopia what type of government they should have. They tell me what type of government I should have.

On the other hand, I'm not worried about humanity, I'm only worried about power and Ethiopia can deliver that. I leave human rights issues to those who thrive in that business. I'm a president not human rights advocate. You tend to confuse things Mr. Galib. Mr. Zenawi rules Ethiopia with an iron fist, and I want to do the same in Somalia. The shoes I am wearing now were made by Zenawi himself. Your question tells me you are not well informed Mr. Galib.

Galib: How good or bad is your relationship with Arab countries, in particular Egypt and Saudi Arabia, the two leading Arab countries?

President: Very bad. Both Presidents of Egypt and Saudi Arabia refused to meet me officially when I was there for Yassir Arfat's funeral in Cairo and when I went for Omra in Jedda. I think they have a beef with my boss. However I am not worried because too many bosses will only spoil the broth for me.

Galib: You were very apologetic about not being able to communicate with Arab leaders in Arabic language. You went as far as saying that you have already appointed an Arab language teacher to teach you Arabic. Why? You can't be a student of Arabic language and a president at the same time. You are not even that healthy to undertake such an arduous task.

President: I know I can't learn sufficient Arabic language while I'm in office, but I said that only to appease them. They were shocked to see the first Somali president unable to communicate in Arabic language. I wanted their support.

As far as my health is concerned, well taken, but don't worry, I have a Japanese liver, more efficient and easily replaceable.

Galib: I really do not believe you were unable to communicate in Arabic. Didn't you go to Quranic school before you went to formal schooling? What type of school that did not teach you Islamic studies and Arabic language ? If you have been to either or both of those schools, you should be able to communicate with them. We studied Arabic in schools.

Even if you didn't learn Arabic, don't be ashamed of yourself, because you are a Somali not an Arab. You could have told them that your mother tongue is Somali and you do speak it fluently. They were not ashamed to communicate with you in Somali, were they? Do the Ethiopians and Kenyans insist that you communicate with them in their languages? Why such a demeaning concessions to Arab leaders? I thought you said you are a strong man.

President: Yes I'm a very strong man, but to the Somalis only. To others I'm a mouse, because I need their help and support. You witnessed my acceptance speech, how shaky and troubled I was when fear got the best part of me in front of world leaders. I am an operational man , speech making particularly to foreign dignitaries is not my cup of tea. I am terribly short in that respect. In complete contrast, when I address the Somali parliament I don't feel that fear and I act like the lion I am.

On the Arabic language side, the situation is different, we are in the Arab league Mr. Galib. A bona fide member of the Arab league should speak the language of the league. Otherwise our membership will be considered farce at a time I am asking for military and financial support.

Galib: That should be the case Mr. President, the best known union or league is the European one, member states are not required to speak the language of other member states. To force a member to speak the language of another member state will not be a genuine union, but more like a colony. Are suggesting then that we are an Arab colony? Imagine Mr. President, that you paid an official state visit to France or China, and their leaders insisted you communicate with them in their language, would you tell them that you will hire someone to teach you their language to be able to communicate with them? If you do so, you will be hiring more language teachers for yourself than the Ministry of Education. Why do you need to learn Arabic at this age and at this time, as a President you will be entitled to interpreters every where?

President: The need for an interpreter is precisely why I want to learn Arabic, because each and every transaction between me and the Arab leaders will be otherwise in public. With Arabic interpreters all around, I will be a president without secrets. Secretaries usually leak secrets, but one can hide top secrets from them. But how one can hide secrets if one can not communicate with his counterpart and an interpreter is always placed in the middle. I plan to have a lot of secrets with Arab leaders, and lack of personal communication will spoil all my Arab plans. The Arabs also divide the world into two camps.. the Arab and the Ajam and I like to be on the Arab camp to keep our Arab league membership intact.

Galib: I do not think you need to learn Arabic to keep secrets from everybody. You have to know secrets are not all that secrets after all. Secrets are only secrets to some but not to all. All you need is a trusted interpreter. I am curious Mr. President, what languages do you speak and what type of school did you attend by the way?

President: I attended war academies for killing and destruction, and I speak only, the language of the gun. My professional experience is even worse. The stern, stone face you see, is a reflection of my often violent and treacherous past.

But I will not take you seriously Mr. Qalib, because you are not a warlord in the first place and secondly you were one of Somalilanders who have betted with the wrong horse during the presidential race due to their political naivet. That makes you politically unwise and unworthy to be consulted.

Galib: But I'm not politically as dump as you are. If you believe you were elected as president of all Somalia, you should have taken the grievances and rights of the people of Somaliland into consideration, when you were selecting the Prime minister, fully aware that the chairman of the parliament and his first deputy and the president elect all from the South. It was dump, unfair and pure regionalism to have selected a prime minister from the South. I thought we came to Nairobi as full partners, but that was a wishful thinking on my part. Those of us who opposed the secession of Somaliland took a heavy beating. In fact we are seen as foolish in the eyes of our people. Now I came to know what they already knew that South is South and North is North and thou never shall meet. I was working under the wrong premises that Somaliland seceded from Somalia, but now it is obvious that Somalia wants to secede from Somaliland or from the union. The action of the parliament and your action as elected president are a clear testimony to that. The truth of the matter is, as I see now, Somaliland is forced to secede. Now the people of Somaliland are laughing at us saying at the bottom of their hearts .. you fools we told you so. Unfortunately they are right, because of you and what you have done.

President: Nobody has to tell me that, I know you are politically naive, because you did not elect me. On the other hand what was the point of coming to Nairobi without bringing Somaliland in the first place. Mr. Galib you are virtual prisoner of your own here in Kenya. You can't go back to Somaliland and there is no place for you in Somalia. We expected you and your likes to bring Somaliland with you, but you have only deserted your country. Without bringing along Somaliland, do not expect anything from me. We do not have foreign contracts. Even if I consider some foreign contracts for Somalilanders, only the heroic Issir people of Sool will be considered. The Dervishes have already been inducted into the national army, and some 850 of them are already there in Baidoa paused for the eventful assault on Mogadishu in conjunction with the expected African army.

If you wanted the presidency or a premiership, you should have first known the size of your shoes. In fact you are not even wearing shoes, you are bare footed. Your shoes could only be made in Somaliland. To be a little more blunt you are politically as dump as I am. I consider you and the lot of Somalilanders here in Nairobi, as deserters and the question of trust will not faint away easily. If you have deserted Somaliland, what guarantee I have that you will not desert me. If you ever thought of convincing us that you represent the people of Somaliland, you are in reality dumper than me. But all is not gloom here Mr. Galib, I promise to nominate one Somalilander as Minister of foreign Affairs preferably Buubaa, to deal with the vexed question of denying Somaliland's imminent recognition. I think a Somalilander and Buubaa in person, can do that better than we can do, to convince his people the futility of seeking recognition from me and the world community.

For your information Mr. Galib I am not dump as you say, but I am a political genius. In politics all that matters is the political survivability, I survived the last 40 years under the most difficult and daunting circumstances. Only a dummy will call that a dump man.

Galib: Mr. President you have an image problem. Look at you, you hardly smile. You have a stone face - what we call shoe face, why? Open up Mr. President a heavy responsibility is placed on your shoulders. Public relationship should play an important part in the presidency.

President: Mr. Galib you have another point there. I have to stop having what Somalis call the shoe face. I am the president elect now and I have a lot to smile about. In fact before the last election there was hardly anything to smile about. However my past is constantly haunting me, but I know, somehow, I have to throw my past into the trash cane of history. It is high time I lived the future and left the past behind, however breaking with the past is easier said than done for me. One also has to remember the responsibility that I have undertaken is not a laughing matter. Although purely accidental, my prime minister also has a shoe face. I have never seen him laugh even at the time I nominated him a prime minister. I was not aware, but may be birds of the same feather flock together. The other day Mr. Sudi Yallohow told me that I have nothing in common with the prime minister, but at least, we share the same stone face and look. Thank you anyway for reminding me that. I truly appreciate your sense of patriotism and loyalty to Somali nationalism, but nationalism of your type is a thing of the past. Your nationalism should have a logical boundary. Somali speaking can not be the basis of a political boundary.

Galib; Look who is talking, if Issir is your political boundary (Puntland), Somali speaking boundary should make a lot of sense to you.

President: It was good to discuss a number of burning issues with you Mr. Galib, but I remain helpless, I cannot appoint you even a junior minister, because our beloved parliament legislated anybody who is not in parliament is not worth a dime. The parliamentarians want to monopolize, both the legislative and the executive power of the government. They want my government to be the government, of the parliament by the parliament for the parliament. They want to have the sole monopoly of force to guarantee order, like governments do. Those parliamentarians are power hungry. I thought I was the only power hungry guy in Somalia. But now I see it is an infectious disease that all Somalis are affected. The uncalled and unfortunate action of the parliament will negatively affect the performance of my government, as it will tie my hands, and the government you get will be as good or as bad as the members of parliament. They will expect me to distribute the government ministers on the basis of the clan based formula of 4.5. To give you a feel of the dismal formula. Suppose for simplicity, I make a government by selecting one from each clan to satisfy the formula. Then the government will be composed of four full persons and half a person. If I increase the size of the government six fold, then I will have 24 full persons and six half persons. Half a person plus half a person will not make one full person. Then, where am I supposed to get half a person or half persons. The whole thing is crazy.

Galib: I am totally inclined to agree with you on that point Mr. President, the people who elected you with such a big majority have the ill will and the audacity of doing so. I have no doubt in my mind that they don't know the right size of their shoes. We have to look at their shoes before we expect anything positive from them.

Galib: The three people arrested for the assassination attempt on your life, are said to be Islamic fundamentalists. Why do they want to kill you?

President: To tell you the truth, the whole thing is a hoax. It is staged by us to get the attention and support of those governments who fight Islamic fundamentalists. The support of the foreign army I have requested is dwindling fast, and this act is intended to rally international support for the foreign troops request. This is high politics and you will see how much support I will get due to this incident alone.

Source: Qaran News, Dec 1 2004

The Somaliland delegation officially invited Dutch Foreign Ministry officials to visit Somaliland

The Somaliland delegation has been touring a number of European countries in the past few days.

A high-powered Somaliland delegation headed by Foreign Minister Ms Edna Adan Isma'il today held talks with senior officials of the Dutch Foreign Ministry. The delegation met ministry officials in charge of Africa and the Horn of Africa regions. The two sides discussed bilateral cooperation.

The Somaliland delegation also raised issues concerning Somalia Majeerteen's interference in Somaliland territories, and urged the government of the Netherlands to intervene.

The Dutch Foreign Ministry officials pledged to raise the issue at the forthcoming African Union-EU joint meeting, scheduled to take place in Addis Ababa soon.

The Somaliland delegation has been touring a number of European countries in the past few days.

The Somaliland delegation officially invited Dutch Foreign Ministry officials to visit Somaliland and familiarize themselves with the situation in Somaliland.

The delegation comprised ministers of foreign affairs, information, the Somaliland ambassador to the Netherlands, chairman of the Somaliland community in the Netherlands and officials of the Netherlands-Somaliland Friendship Society.

Source: Qaran News, Nov 29 2004


Mukhtar Mohamed Abbi, Hargiesa, Somaliland

Ever since the Somali national reconciliation conference got under way in Mbagathi suburbs of Nairobi the Somaliland government and its people have been keeping a close eye on the potential political repercussion that the Somali peace conference could have on the integrity of Somaliland once a government emerges from the conference.

The conference passed through difficult stages sometimes there was a row and misconception that overshadowed summit which could contribute to complete collapse. Following long acrimony and bitter wrangling the participants of peace talks have unanimously agreed on the division of delegates representing each clan in the legislative council which is composed some two hundred seventy five members.

The formation of the legislative council was the first turning point for the Mbagathi conference. The election of the speaker of the parliament and his deputy was another turning point for the Somali peace process. The major turning point was the election of the new head of Somali state which was the culmination of two year marathon conference aiming at achieving peaceful solution in Somali which has been without a central government since the removal of dictator Siad bare of Somali in 1991.

Yusuf's election was shocked by many Somalis living in and outside of the country on account of his past and present military records. During the election campaign in Mbagathi the prime theme of his crusade was about his military record. And he is a man who is widely regarded as a warlord. He is a hawk - a person who strongly supports the use of force in political relationships rather than discussion or other more peaceful solutions. He is a man who ruled his regional government of Puntland with iron first and that assassinated his political opponents at will. How a man who has such daunting records can be elected the presidency for the Somali transitional federal government if Somalis are committed to achieving a peaceful solution in Somalia?

This indicates that he had used slush fund to attain his longstanding dream that was to become one day the president of Somali, Worst of all Mr Yusuf the newly elect president of Somali who is chosen by the Somali provisional law makers has been the Somaliland's long time adversary since the establishment of the neighboring Somali regional government of Puntland in 1998.

Mr. Yusuf the former leader of the semi autonous regional of Puntland has been at the logger heads with Somaliland over the eastern Sanaag and Sool region which is in effect in the Somaliland territory which was the British legally during the colonial Period.

He claims that the inhabitants of the Eastern Sanaag and Sool region are his clan affiliation which is extremely absurd.

His election has prompted emotional responses from the government of Somaliland, the opposition political parties and the population themselves. Yusuf's election not only provoked angry responses from the Somaliland government and its opposition parties but also it resulted in hostels reaction from Mogadishu base war mongers and demonstrations against his election.

Abulkazim's transitional national government was undermined by the challenges of Mogadishu base warlords that were allegedly backed by the neighboring Ethiopia- something the Ethiopian government repeatedly, dismissed and described it as baseless..

The factional leaders in Mogadishu collectively opposed to the legitimacy of abulkazim's presidency as he was one of the long serving, ministers in the late Siad's Military Regime as he had been the closest associate of president Barre.

One of the main factional leaders in Mogadishu Mr.Muse Sudi Yalahow was the chief stumbling block of the transitional national government knowing that Abdulkazim belongs to Mogadishu and that he was unable to extend his writ across his hometown despite the diplomatic recognition extended to his TNG.

Since the collapse at the military junta of Somaliland a complete chaos anarchy and social brake downs ensued in Somalia's Mogadishu the former capital of Somalia is considered by the international community that is it is the most and the dangerous place in the entire Somalia and that it could be a safe haven for the terrorist organizations and this is why the international community is helping Somali people to revitalize their national identity.

The newly elect president of Somalia is facing the very tough challenges that handicapped his predecessor's outgoing transitional national government that was created in Arta four years ago. The key question is how will Mr.Yusuf overcome the momuntal task laying him a head?

No sooner he was elected as the Somali head of state than the went unexpected visit to the capital of Ethiopia - Addis Ababa to ask the African some twenty thousand forces to disarm the warlords in Somali. This move apposed by some of the powerful warlords as well as the people in Mogadishu. The members of Somalia provisional parliament described Mr. Yusuf as being dictator because of this move.

The people in the south notably those in Mogadishu experienced considerable devastation at the hands of foreign troops led by the Americans in 1993.

Abdilahu yusuf's move indicates a looming civil war in Somalia that will undermine the Somali peace process. All in all gunpoint is not a solution but the solution lies with the Somali people.

The only way out for the political turmoil and at the same time achieve peaceful solution in Somali is that Somali's should not forget one thing - to follow the Somaliland's footsteps.

We have rebuilt a nation from the grass roots, we started from the ruler nomadic settlement, the village and on to the district, and then regional head quarters, and from there we brought together representatives with legitimate popular credentials to a national conference.

Then we made a peace between the people and we established co-existence between the clans. This in summary form was the essence of the Somaliland peaceful state, its political stability and visible economic progress. It pointed the way forward it Somalia where ever to achieve equally impressive results.

Source: Qaran News, Nov 29 2004

Somaliland's Parliamentary Election: A Matter of Do or Die!

Bismillahi Rahmaani Rahiim,

The Somaliland parlimentary election has been scheduled to be held in March 2005, the importance of that election can not be overstressed, it is a matter of DO or Die for Somaliland. If the parliamentary elections are not held then that would mean Somaliland is a dictatorship and the world will start treating it like one. If on the other hand Somaliland holds the parliamentary election then that would mean that Somaliland has fullfilled all the requirements needed for being a democracy and the world will start treating Somaliland like the other members of the democratic club of nations, the nations who are part of that democratic club include India, Britain, South Africa, Australia, New Zealand and other nations that conduct free and fair elections on a regular basis every four or five years. Somaliland will join this club of democratic nations, Somaliland with its hardwork and determination will conduct a free and fair parliamentary election, InshaAllah(God Willing)!

Somaliland's people both inside and outside the country are determined to make everything they can to make sure that the parliamentary elections are held on time, are free and fair, and that the outcome will be a strong parliament made up of members from the three different politica parties: Kulmiye(Main opposition party), UCID(Justice and wellfare party) and UDUB(currently in power). The powers of the parliament will include legislation(making laws) and supervision of the executive branch(government), the end result of the parliamentary elections will be a Somaliland that is stronger, safer, more democratic and less politically shaky.

The Somaliland media(newspapers, television stations, radio stations, internet websites,political pundits etc) must all start to cover how the preparations for the parliamentary elections are going so far, this topic must be on everyones lips, the debate over the election must start now not later, NOW! We cannot afford to reach March, 2005 and then realise that "oops" we are not ready for the elections. Because the media is the agenda setter for what becomes news and what does not I urge the Somaliland media outlets to put a heavy emphasis on the parliamentary election preparations in their news coverage as well as in their political analysis. I also urge the media to not report negativly but to report positivly concerning the March, 2005 parliamentary election, the Somaliland media must not forget that our name is the Republic of Somaliland and Somalilander's are known to keep their promises and we as a people have promised ourselves that we are going to hold the parliamentary election and so we will, Insha Allah!

Somaliland's enemies are most scared of one thing and that is that Somaliland will hold the parliamentary election. The enemies of Somaliland are trying their hardest to stop Somaliland from being peaceful enough to hold its parliamentary elections. As we all know the enemies of Somaliland killed the foreign aid workers residing in Somaliland and recently Somaliland's enemies invaded parts of south-eastern Somaliland and they are currently occupying small pockets of Sool region, the enemy think that this will hurt Somaliland's chances of holding its election, not so. In fact: come rain or drought, come war or peace, no matter what happens, Somaliland will go ahead and hold its parliamentary election. The parliamentary election is the last step in Somaliland's democratiation process and as such it is the death punch against our enemies in Somalia and elsewhere who are trying their hardest from stopping democracy from taking root in the Horn of Africa. The matter of Somaliland's parliamentary elections is a matter of: Do or Die and Somaliland has choosen to Do, Somaliland has choosen to to hold the parliamentary elections in March, 2005 and to become a full fledged member of the democratic club of nations!

Viva Somaliland!!! - Somaliland Ha noolato!!! - Victory to Somaliland!!!

Cumar Caydiid (

Source: Qaran News, Nov 29 2004

Press Release: Somaliland Justice Minister leads Human Rights Delegation

We leave South Africa inspired by President Thabo Mbeki's leadership and the way South Africa had developed....

Somaliland Justice Minister Mr. Ahmed Ali and his delegation concluded a successful 7-day study tour of South African Human Rights institutions, which was coordinated by the United Nations Development Programme's Mrs Fatima Ibrahim. This is the 3rd UNDP facilitated visit of Somaliland delegations to South Africa in 2004.

The delegation met with the head of the South African Human Rights Commission, leading South African Human rights NGO's and the director of the EU funded Foundation for Human Rights in Pretoria.

Highlights of this delegation's visit to South Africa included a valuable meeting with Mr. Rolf Meyer, one of top architects of South Africa's democracy and former Minister of Constitutional Affairs in Mr. Nelson Mandela's government. The delegation also participated in a Pretoria seminar on Human Rights, Truth and Sustainable Leadership, led by the internationally acclaimed Islamic scholar, Shaykh Fadhllah Haeri. The visit also included visiting the Western Cape province to study the South African parliamentary system and ruling party's ANC experience there.

"We leave South Africa inspired by President Thabo Mbeki's leadership and the way South Africa had developed a culture of human rights. Our visit comes, as South Africa celebrates 10 years of democracy in South Africa, the youngest and strongest democracy in Africa. We are also touched by the way the small Muslim community has developed a distinct and fine balance between Islamic values of identity and the South African Bill of Rights. In these South African experiences, are many valuable lessons for us, which we hope to implement and share with Somalilanders and our neighbours in the Horn of Africa", said Somaliland Justice Minister Mr. Ahmed Ali.


Source: Jamhuuriya Online, "The Republican", Nov 28 2004

Human Rights Organization demand immediate release of 4 defence lawyers

Hargeisa(The Rep)- Four defence Lawyers were sentenced to 3 years prison by chairman of the Regional Court of Hargeisa, who was presiding over the case of a girl, Zamzam Ahmed Dualeh, who claims to have been raped while in custody, but who is accused of acts of espionage and sabotage.

The 4 lawyers were immediately taken to the central prison of Hargeisa, soon after their emergency sentence.

Mr. Abdirahman Artan, Chairman of SAMO-TALIS, a local human rights organizations told Jamhuuriya/Republican that an argument erupted the judge and the defence lawyers, and the judge accused them that they refused to accept the court's order.

He said, "This is a violation of justice aimed to divert the case. We urge all institutions responsible for the constitution for immediate interference and stop the diversion of the case of the girl".

The Coalition for Justice and Peace for Somaliland condemned the sentence of the 4 defence lawyers, Mohamed Said Hirsi (Morgan), Abdirahman Ibrahim Alin, Fozi Sheikh Yusuf and Yusuf Ismail Ali.

Rakiya Abdillaahi Ommar, Director of East African Human Rights organization strongly condemned the sentence and requests that the government of Somaliland:
- To Release the 4 lawyers immediately and unconditionally
- To resume, without delay, the case against Zamzam and Omer
- To remove the judge and the prosecutor from the case
- To begin an immediate and impartial investigation into the handling of the case by the prosecutor and the judge.

The presiding judge, who sentenced the 4 lawyers to 3 years prison told the BBC that the 4 became an obstacle to the procedures of the court and that the law allows, the sentence he passed.

Human Rights organizations in Somaliland were interested in the case of Zamzam and have been appearing in great members in all court hearings.

British Foreign Ministry officials meet Somalilanders in UK

London (The Rep)- Senior British Foreign Ministry officials met Mr. Said Omer Ahmed, Social Justice and Welfare party Deputy Chairman in UK and Mr. Abdifatah Said Ahmed, coordinator of Somalilanders in the Diaspora and their government on Wednesday.

The discussion, which included British officials from other agencies, was centered on the current situation of the country and the quest for recognition.

According to our London correspondent, the two sides agreed on the formation of a joint committee - including British parliamentarians and the other personalities interested and concerned in the cause of Somaliland - to earnestly search for recognition.

They also agreed that Somaliland community in the UK to meet MP's in their constituency, inform them on Somaliland's cause and try to get their support in the quest from recognition. (There are some MP's that ardently support the case of Somaliland).

According to our correspondent, Britain's aid to Somaliland will be separated from that of Somalia and that Somaliland's effort to lift the ban on its livestock, will be supported.

Unemployment is our main problem

Hargeisa(The Rep)- President Dahir Rayale Kahin, told the cabinet members - in their weekly meeting on Thursday - that unemployment is the main problems the country is facing.

According to a press release from the presidency, the president urged his ministers, to consider the issue seriously and search for creating jobs, based on the natural resources of the country.

The president's statement was in conclusion of recommendations by cabinet members, on how to attract foreign investment to create jobs.

Some of the recommendations by the cabinet were studying the natural resources that can contribute towards this goal, the foreign investment law and studying the availability of local skills.

Mr. Rayale, according to the press release, told his cabinet that a committee would be formed.

Military Hospital opened in Ainabo

Hargeisa(The Rep)- Minister of Health, Mr. Osman Qasim Qodah, opened a military hospital, with modern medical instruments, in Ainabo, on Monday.

According to our regional reporter, Mr. kayse Ahmed Digale, Mr. Qodah, speaking at the opening ceremony said, "This is a day to rejoice for we are opening a hospital that will serve the national army, in the frontline, but will also be used by the people of the district."

Mr. Ismail Omer Aden (Boss), Minister of Defence, who also spoke at the ceremony said, "Hostility is forced on us and the hospital as planned will be used by the army, but its benefits will be for the people in the district."

Mr. Said Sulub, Minister of Public Works, told those who attended the opening ceremony that Ainabo - Og road would be rehabilitated. He said, "We are in a hostile-peace-development situation. Hostility is being forced on us, although we are trying for peace."

The Mayor of Ainabo told the ministers who are on a working tour in the east, that the people of the district are ready for national diefence.

NEC, political parties and media discuss elections

Hargeisa(The Rep)- A four day conference on the forthcoming first democratic parliamentary election on March 29, organized by SOLJA (Somaliland journalist Organization) and funded by the BBC was opened this weak at Ming Sing restaurant in Hargeisa.

Chairman of the National Electoral Commission (NEC) Mr. Ahmed Hagi Ali Adami opening the conference being attended by NEC, the 3 political parties and the local media reminded the participants that it was a courageous act to hold the local and presidential elections.

He said, "Democracy is a parcel that you have to take fully or leave. You cannot take some and discard the rest. You cannot refuse to vacate your seat if you are beater in election."

The chairman in his speech emphasized that democratic elections are not new to the country and the benefits gained, in the eyes of the international community from the 2 elections. He said, "The exclusion of Somaliland from the Mbagathi conference, by the international community is one of the successes achieved".

Mr. Adami commended the local press, stated that he is against any press law, but called on the press to show responsibility.

Mr. Abdillahi Geeljire from the ruling party spoke of the conflict between the government and the media in developing countries.

He said, "The government should respect the press, give equal time in public media and the free media to show responsibility. I remind all of the delicate and sensitive situation during elections".

Mr. Mohamed Kahin Ahmed from the opposition party KULMIYE spoke about the relation between the media and election and how the media is the backbone of democratic elections.

He said, "Let us avoid what the country has inherited from the late Mohamed Siad Barre. We should remember that suppressing the media brings about the fall of those who come to power through force. The media should be objective and neutral."

Mr. Abdirahman Mohamed Abdillahi (IRRO) from Justice and Welfare party (UCID) urged the House of Representatives in his speech. He said, "We are ready for the elections but we are waiting to complete, what remains from your part."

He added that is the first time SOLJA is using Somalilanders as instructors and this great step forward.

The representatives of the political parties spoke about how each party is going to take part in the elections and the mistakes and shortcoming of the local and presidential elections.

Confrontation between Abdillahai Yusuf and Adde

Bosaso (Agencies) - Open conflict emerged between the new president of Somalia Abdillahi Yusuf and the recently nominated Puntland militia commander in occupied areas of Somaliland former General Adde Muse Hersi.

The 2 military men, who are in Nairobi and Canada collided when Mohamed Abdi Hashi, the man who replaced Abdillahi Yusuf as president of Puntand, wanted his term in office to be extended on the pretext that war is going in Puntland territory and General Adde refused the postponement of the election that is due in Jan./05.

According to agencies and sources contacted in Bosaso and Garowe, Abdillahi Yusuf supported his former deputy and ordered the immediate arrest of General Adde, on his return from Canada.

The sources added that the General contacted his supporters in Bosaso, including the former Mayor of the town and told them to mobilize all supporters, to oppose the postponements of the election.

Abdillahi Yusuf and Adde Muse fought a bitter war, in which the latter was defeated and forced to flee to Somaliland, where he was given refuge with his militia.

The Black Mountains a traditional leader mediated between the 2 men; a mediation, which brought about the return of Adde Muse and his supporters to Puntland.

Adde Muse is said to be campaigning for the post held by his former enemy.


Somaliland student's assembly (SOLSA) a nation-wide students forum is going to look Somaliland educational system with the critical eye since the system seems convoluted.


First education or the academic institution may be defined as a set of organized processes designed to transmit knowledge and skills and to develop mental abilities. Really education in modern societies serves at least 8 different purposes namely:
- Transmission of culture
- Teaching of values
- The promotion of social mobility
- Certification
- Job training
- Establishing social relationship
- Political socialization
- And baby sitting

Education is a sound investment for many reasons including economic grounds. In the third world governments spend a large proportion of their budget on education, which seemed to them the most profitable form of investment. In Somaliland by contrast government spends half of its budget (50%) on security and very small portion to the schooling especially primary schooling to produce basic literacy and numeracy through out the population.

Actually the education system of the country was copied from the previous colonial experience and this hindered the country's educational policy since adjustment compatible with our indigenous needs requires lengthy and torturous attitudinal institutional change.

SOLSA argues that the key to better future for our country depends on government's control of our own educational system.

It is clear as crystal that the ministry of education has no touchable policy for our education and ministry's directorate of planning which is in charge of formulating educational policy is not working and this made our own educational system haphazard.

The statement of Arnold Anderson in the book Economic Development and Post Primary Education should be applicable to the educational policy of our country.

In formulating educational policy, every society must compromise among three goals:
- Efficiency in allocating training to individuals most likely to profit from it.
- Equity in opening opportunities for education impartially to various groups
- And free choice of educational careers to maximize motivation and flexibility.

"Compromise" suggests that efficiency, equity and freedom of choice are in that sequence, the important element necessary for sound educational system.

If these three elements can't be attained in equal proportions, priority must be given to the criteria of efficiency.

In our country the financial realities and sometimes poor budgetment make it impossible for our educational system to balance effectively these three elements for instance Somaliland education system. In implementing equity and freedom of choice for student's sacrificed efficiency. This result was of course not intentional on the part of our educational policy makers but was unavoidable. In adequate financial resources and the crippling factor of mismanagement compounded the disparity between intention and achievement.

The efficient element sometimes necessitates the hiring of educational personal from distant countries.

Heavy financial requirements involved in such a case makes impossible for our country to fulfill the policy although it's the country's ultimate benefit contributing to the fulfillment of our education goals.

The equity element is also achieved by having a free educational system open to all citizens at all levels such as the university in order to maintain high standard a student must possess specified academic qualification for admission.

"Editorial" Pressure Destiny of the Nation

It was in the first quarter of 1997 when the draft of Somaliland Constitution was passed by the 3rd Somaliland Communities' Conference in Hargeisa. A constitution that took a couple of years, to go through the House of Representatives, before it was presented in a referendum to the people.

The country, thanks to its people, has gone through two elections, that of the local government and the presidency with bright colours, regardless of many shortcomings. With a little more plan and far sightedness, they could have been held together, to save for its meager economy.

At present, a government with its president democratically elected by the people is working with a parliament, whose honourable members have been nominated by their communities to represent them. Their cooperation is satisfactory, but it is evident that the democratic process is still incomplete and the election law is still in the House of Representatives, with only 4 months remaining for voting day.

Different reasons can be given for the bill that is still in the House. Every conceivable reason has been given as to why the election law is incomplete. Honourable members have repeatedly informed the people that it will be passed during this or that preliminary session. That it will be finalized soon.

An Adjournment of a session followed another. The executive and the legislation blamed each other. Deadlines have been given but passed, with no change as voting day comes closer.

Personalities with high integrity were blamed. Some of them were to be made scapegoats. Rumours began to circulate that there is a hidden conspiracy aimed at not completing the democratization process. Members of the House are blamed for the incompletion. They are suspected of trying to get extension when their term expires.

New rumours have emerged that parliamentary Election Day is to be postponed, giving the reason, as the situation in Las Anod and the Easter Border.

People argue that this can not be a valid reason, for election - that is fair and free election - can be held at a time, when the wind is calmer and the sailing can be safer for those in the territory, who are being harassed on daily basis, by the insurgents who occupied their regional capital. Some of those who serve the occupying militia are beating the drum of war, not for the good of his kinsmen or community but for personal ambition and that is to postpone election in the administration he serves.

Members of the House of Representatives who just returned from one-month adjournment should not forget that the people would not accept any extension of their term. They are also fed up of why things are being postponed.

The honourable members and all those who have a say should not forget, that parliamentary elections is one of the pillars, on which the destiny of this nation depends. A destiny for which a lot has been sacrificed.

Friendly states have promised to provide logistic and technical support. The people's patience is on the verge of being exhausted. The destiny of the nation should not be endangered. The election law has to be completed and the polling day should not be postponed.

A Black Man Like Me

The Republican, Nov 28 2004. Nowadays in the Paranoid Government of President Riyaale, if your name sounds something similar to Mujaahid or serious Somali-Lander. You may likely be a subject to a special screening and will be framed as a security risk - factor. A complete scrutiny background checkup in your core - beliefs, related to your love to the Holy - promised - land. From cape Gardafue to Hawaas ( Nazerate ). You have to undergo through screening devices, not only by the Credit Bureaue of the UDUP Empire. But also by a Federation Spy Agency called Somali Intelligence Service at its Headquarters in Mogadishu and Djibouti. If they ever sense you of ever being a fan of the SNM tigers, or labeled with those dirty words of integrity, honesty, heroism, and independence. You are considered as a threat and a security risk to the national interest. Because Freedom is a dirty word in the UDUP Empire. If you are suspected or ever engaged in any ideology against the abortive phenomenon of Great Somalia, which serves only the Arab - Cause and the homeless vampires of Majerteeniya. You will be enlisted as an international terrorist in the Oval Office of Mr.Riyaale. Otherwise you must anchor the hate and the annoyance of the Ethiopian friends, if you want to survive. We must accept the crocodile - tears of our cousin in Djibouti with a bear's hug. Allow him to attend the funeral - service of our deceased heroes dressed up in a lovely white suit with his hair and makeup immaculately done like a professional slut. Smiling for the camera while sunbathing in a ditch of shame. I don't want to ignite fear or anger of any person. But we must realize that our future dream and prospects are under siege. Every day has it's own circumstances and justification, and little children have big ears. But can't sue their mothers over injuries suffered while they were in their mobs. The hill is steep and makes you feel like stopping. But simple truth is more powerful than Empires of Corrupt - Governments.

I don't want to push the panic button but there are questions echoed to our ears. We have to wait for the thermometer to dip before starting our furnace. Most couples divorce because of religious difference. The man thinks that he is the God to all that under the roof, while the wife knows that she is. I have opted for now not to read my reviews and write-ups, good or bad. They already have come with all sorts of weird and wonderful masterpieces. I can't tell you exactly what they are. But our fridge has never been more colorful than it is right now. They want us to be sheep with the help of some ghosts that stand with feet made of clay. Not all my e-mail correctly points out that I have no new ideas whatsoever to raise a child. Besides that I am open for suggestions. But in the meantime, the one thing most parents have in common is that. They don't want to have more kids. I told him in many occasions. " Don't run through life so fast that you forget where you going". Ask him now please! How many roads must a man travel down before he admits that he is lost? Regardless of your relationship with your cousin, you will miss him when he is gone. A clumsy wife should always get someone to hold the baby while she is chopping the vegetables. Beer is as exciting for men as shoes are for women. Making a living is not like making a life.

And failure is not an option but it comes bundled with the software. Two things are difficult to say when you get with money and power. Indubitably and specifically. And one thing is impossible to say. " I think it is best if I keep my opinion to myself."

Dear reader, I am sorry to keep you stranded and waiting long for a sober opinion. But you know what! It is a common instinct that Newfoundlanders are distorting the facts. How can it be called a premarital sex, if I don't have the intention of getting married? The face is familiar but I can't remember her name.

Without being invited, I sneaked secretly to a Fair of jewellery, gold, and fashions held by the UDUP Empire on 17th November instant at the Ambassador Hotel. The wives of our ministers attended the Fair dressed up like film stars of Hollywood. Surrounded by Secret - Agents and escorted by Police body - guards. Things seemed like a Hollywood party and a fashion - show in Paris. The noticeable too much makeup and heavy lip - stick of one minister's wife strongly irritated the audience. She was wearing necklaces of heavy gold that could be used as a camel - bell. Her arms and tiny legs were all encircled with bracelets and chains of gold that looked like shackles and handcuffs. A paint of Arab - women tattoos included. Wide smiles, laughing - minutes and applausive - remarks were exchanged by the beauty - queens of Somaliland. An atmosphere full of joy and an ovation that represents a world of Utopia, not the true picture of this starving nation. Zahra who is my neighbor and an old friend of my wife attended the festival. She has tipped us privately that the above mentioned minister's wife, one year ago before the appointment of her husband, had borrowed a pair of shoes and never has returned it up to now. "This is disgusting and it is not a laughing matter. It is a show of corruption and fraud of the National Treasury. I promise you to see that lady barefooted when President Riyaale fires her husband. Amazing indeed! How money and power corrupts and blinds people! " Zahra ended with her remarks. Most of the spectators were deeply impressed with the personality and character of the Minister of the Family Affairs, Honourabe Fathimo Sudi. She showed shrewd in mind and thought. Dressing up the chastity - belt. Addressing her audience as an Ambassador of good faith. Not teaching the hate of men like the authoritarian lady, the princess of Wales. A pure and perfect typical Somali - mother. Your honor, we owe you all our respect and gratitude. By reading your mind as a genuine interpreter, I could convey your feelings of annoyance and distress to the characters of those nasty - die - actors that were running that concert of dismay.

Dirty diapers are disgusting. Rotten eggs smell rancid. But skunks {xoor} really stinks more. A stunning finding in a Survey sponsored by UFO group elites in Hargeisa, chaired by Dr. Taani, released this survey result late yesterday. Skunks first led the list for the first few minutes of the bad odour in the survey. Then a wave of a stronger stinking smell that has caused vomiting and throw-ups has taken the lead. Then the committee had decided to rerun the matching and rank the survey again. Dirty diabers came the fourth. Rotten eggs were the third. Skunks were the second. But the stinkiest in rating was prejudice and ethnic segregation. The chairman of the survey Dr. Taani announced the result few minutes after the poll.

He was a good singer with a golden voice. He was a helpful friend full of love and joy. He was a brave knight with a lion's guts. He was handsome; he was clean both in body and soul. He was a man of wisdom with a witty remark. He was a kind hero with a generous blood. He was smart literally more than I can say. But I had killed him with my ugly gun. I shot him in the heart and he trashed his legs like an injured racehorse in front of the police station. I am a fool and cold-blooded načve in the past and at the present right now. I committed this first-degree murder with the collaboration of the arms of the law. With the go-head and the nod - consent of the traditional leaders. And got the final authorization of the Immam of my Mosque. They all ululated with a tongue- ringing for this awful homicide. He was a peace-loving dove who had a million reason to stay alive. You can see my hands all smeathered with blood of that innocent victim. He had a heart full of love and pride. That is Hussein Yusuf my supper star. My rock and roll. He was having a guitar not a gun. My blues and juz, he was my rap. I will miss his sense of humour and broad smile, and his socializing with friends and family. That jerk police - man licensed me to kill. That sheikh with the heavy turbine in his head and reciting the quran. Promised me to redeem my sins if I kill Hussein. Those traditional leaders and my think-tanks supported me with muscle and word. That stigma and shame haunting me all night, all day. Memories of guilt and wrong-doing will pursue me wherever I go. Fear, and cold, and teeth chattering is my destiny. He was my class-mate. He was a warm hearted friend and a genial host. I live by the sword, I die by the sword. I must wear mourning clothes and chant prayers for my dead friend. Illuminate candles and a shrine of flowers. I must trash inside my sleeping bag and cry every night to deliver his eulogy. I have long failed the point in my life, where I was doing every thing for selfish reasons, greed and ignorance. It was a kick in the face of a dear friend. I will remain repentant for the rest of my life. I will entertain that thought, pausing occasionally to sniffle and fight back tears of blood. Let these nightmares haunt me for years and live with my guilt forever.

Some geographical evolutions or man-made events stands out as a pivotal that had changed the whole course of history. Some great events and wars with an explosive impact of altering the trends of man's life on the earth planet. Some were single, brief and some were shattering events with immediate and obvious impact. Events or developments that significantly altered social customs, statistics and census, ideas, beliefs, home - life and the human conditions as general. For instance, first and second world war, developments of Agriculture, and the American Civil Rights Movement. Like everywhere else, Horn of Africa had gone through many upheavals, uprisings and evolutions. I will try my best to make things brief and impartial as well as digestible.

He was a magician, he was a rapist, he was an absolute tyrant dictator. A mountain swallowed him because of the prayers of Sheikh Yusuf Konain, and yet we had paid a heavy price as compensations for the dead fool. A compromise of a heavy head tax that stands forever. My sweetie put the shoe on the right foot. That is a powerful contradiction that is well worth thinking again and urges us to pause for a second thought. We have to tell the truth, nothing but the truth to ourselves. Instead of hoarding and narrating tailored biased stories that have no legs to stand on. This scheme is unlikely to fly with the common sense, and real stars don't ask permission to shine. Why did we accept such a costy compromise as far as the magician rapist is dead? As simple as that. That is legendary tales from grandma. The dead fact is that his people were having the upper hand and they were dictating the deal. A bloody coup with the white sword, and tough fight with the teeth and nails had taken place somewhere sometime. Some old masters became captives and some slaves turned to be new masters. Defying the capture of the past by insulting and alienating all civics and civilization of their opponent. Pointing out an accusing finger at and practicing all sorts of savage revenge. Disregarding high-tech and science medicine that once surpassed that of the Western World right now. A history all twisted and swallowed with a grain of salt. Narrating to our children, a history based on rumours and second hand information. No figures no facts. The right of the might. It does not work. As we are in a campus of labs and we are treated as lab-rats prepared to die for science. We are all in unnatural quiet rooms with wires attached to our head and a control panel is bathing our brains in a complex magnetic field, driven by illogic remote control. Running through traumatic stress syndrome with a senseless presence. We are a true temporal-lobe epileptic nation that had lost consciousness. A dog eating dog, and if you can't run with the big dogs, just stay on the porch. Archeological data with lucky fossils and stone-tools are abundant at people's fingertips. While facts can cater to any one who has a thirst for a true history. But nobody wants to buy the truth, when it is sour and against him. All men are created equal. He born naked, he grows old and then he dies. Who controls the present, claims the past and the future. An Egyptian archaeologist and philologist at Cairo University Dr. Farouk classify the word Gabooye as a lineal descendant of a noble blood and ruling junta. While pharaoh is the title of a king in a specific period of time. We have to standup and speak good of our minds, face to face with the gap between the egalitarian ideals and biased ethnic prejudice and segregation. If you ask my divorcee widow about me. She will shower me with million dirty names, but few are true. We must stop the scourge of oppression and discrimination not only in marriage, but in all aspects of life. I am a born loser desperate for attention and help. Methodical with a God complex but had grownup insane. We need yard stick for the color-blind in injustices and ethnic humiliation with no apparent reason. Every body must pay the price for his moral-lapse in judgment. Because justice gives no one a second chance. MR.MALCOLM X said, my mother used to say when I was a teenager. If you burn your ass, you sit on the blister. History has been whitened, and blacks has been left out. The lie that has been told to generations of blacks and whites. Little innocent black children born of parents who believed that their race had no history, while they own a civilization as magnificent as the pyramids. Little black children seeing before they could talk, that their parents considered themselves inferior. Mr. Malcolm continued saying, innocent little black children grown up, living their lives, dying old age and all their lives ashamed of being black. Debating is like being on a battlefield with intellectual and philosophical bullets. There is no place for moderation or disinterested objectivity when one's freedom is at stake. You can't negotiate upon freedom. You either fight for it , or shut up.

The culmination and ethnic cleansing, segregation of the Gabooye community that had resulted a loss of genius generations, is the most crossly shame in our social, political and cultural upheaval in the modern history. A thorn in our hearts that reflects our injustices and inhumanity. The heavy lie that have been passed from one generation to another. Which proves that we are our own worst enemy. Reciting verses of our dark and bleak pages in front of the International community without feeling shame of ourselves. Even our old colonial - masters from Mogadishu are less severe and more moderate than we do. Regarding the practice of ethnic segregation. There is an old saying, "it is better to remain silent and be thought a fool than to open one's mouth and remove all doubt." Our minds are playing tricks on us. A Niger claiming that he is more whiter than another Niger. That is disgusting and a pitiful situation. What do you expect from a white judge and black man in court? Say, Guilty. Truth is God Mr. Ghandi said. We must tell our kids, our neighbors, our relatives, our students and ourselves. That we had lied up to the teeth. Destroyed the evidences and twisted the paths of history with dressings of hate, oppression and a dreadful tangle of life. We must recognize the repugnant segregation that we did, and feel regret and remorse for committing an awful crime against the humanity.

Islam is not a religion that needs publicity or any commercial ads for promotion on television and newspapers. Islam is a religion of equality and social justice. It is the cradle of peace and forgiveness, as it cleared on the verses of the Quran and the prophet's saying. But it has been polluted and associated with the Arab culture, which is full of contradictions, bigotry, injustice and discrimination. After the sixteenth century, we have been dominated by the Arab culture and regarded it as a Godfather since then. What is good for the goose, good for the gander. In the old days we used to say that South Africa teaches what it practices and practices what it teaches. America teaches one thing and practices another. So let me ask the Moslem scholars who does not believe that segregation of the Gabooye community is not a sin, and not a grave crime in God's legislation. Does that mean that Islam teaches one thing and practices another? If you dare to say yes. Then I tip you with an option of a striptease as a part time job after the isha prayer and good-bye with a kiss and a ring. If your answer is a plain No. Then why you never had condemned the teachings and practicing of segregation and discrimination of this silent majority ? Our Imams and scholars must be taken to a legal court. Charged with seduction of ethnic cleansing, kidnapping and distorting religion's teachings and concepts. Manipulation of illiterate minds and polluting culture and ethics, for the purpose of the extermination of an ethnic group. Charges of cover up and corruption of conduct. Serious mischiefs of aggravated assault and genocide.

Man shall not live by bread alone, but by every word that proceed out of the month of the good. I grew up in Hargeisa where ignorance and ethnic segregation, injustice, humiliation and contempt are practiced on daily bases. I was raised like most of you in a society that segregation and discrimination was taken for granted. Recalling and rewarding those old tapes of the past is a mind numbing. There are people who will say. We have to discuss and debate until we are dead. Instead of doing the right thing and redressing the old cuts and wounds of the moral-sapping neglect. Some may feel uncomfortable with this cause; others may see it as a fruitless publicity hound. But I will remain faithful and a new darling for this holy cause of emancipating free-born babies of my next neighbor. As my second assignment to the deserted orphans of my deceased heroes.

It is not too late yet and the time is ripe to introduce stabilization of good God's teachings. Things need to move faster with more lofty vision. It is a cleanup time. That Immam that sentences my girl friend to death by stone throwing, when she wears a transparent bra for her breasts and a tight sweater to charge my sexual desire. Or condemns the lab dancing of my cute girl next door. Had never said a word to condemn the ethnic cleansing and the humiliation of a genius generation of the Gabooye community. That is a sharp truth that cuts and causes a great pain. But if you take the truth, it will cure you and save you from an otherwise certain death. The Gabooye community are walking dead people who had been cut off from all their rights. They have been robbed deaf, dumb and blind to the true knowledge of themselves. Accepting a society and a religion, it's Imam teaches that being a Gabooye is a curse. That is a bitter pill hard to swallow. A resurrected upright people will be able to standup and do something for them, and for this country that has buried them alive. A racit nation in which no color, no religion, no culture, no language is dividing them. But an immoral conduct and abuse of human dignity separates us from one another for centuries. Our budget of human dignity is in red ink. Let us cross our fingers and take a deep breath and remember Allah. Their Sultans and chiefs are denied of their merits and are not recognized up to now. While other few numbered families were given a special status in the political arena. Simply because those few nuts have roots with some paper tigers of the past. One can't unite bananas with scattered leaves. They are very peaceful and law-abiding people. But to fight back in self-defense wherever and whenever they are unjustly and unlawfully attacked, is a holy task for every serious Somali-Lander. if the Government thinks that I am wrong for saying this. Then let the gov't starts doing it's job for protection. No body will respect the system that excludes him. I disregard that idea that teaches, to love your enemy. When the Immam of the Mosque, the traditional leaders and the Government bodies condemns segregation and discrimination. Then we will hear out of those mountains of despair, a stone of hope. Transform the jangling of discords of our nation into a beautiful symphony of brotherhood. Then we will pray together with good will and standup together for our freedom. John F Kennedy said, this nation was founded by men and women of many nations. It was founded on the principles that all men are equal, and that the rights of every man are diminished when the rights of one man are threatened. This nation is a place of cheap political leaders who build their careers on immoral compromises and ally themselves with open forms of political, economical and social exploitation. This is the same thing here in Somali-land nowadays. sweltering with the heat of injustices and with the heat of oppression. Judging people by the muscle of his tribe, not by the qualities of his character and noble ideas. What I am offering is a fairly substantial change in our way of thinking towards the Gabooye community. Enough is enough. But members of the ruling families don't like the change. Because it might affect their property values, and they don't have the guts to face the truth.

I suggest that some of the traditional leaders, religion dignitaries, and members of parliament must break the ice by getting married from the Gabooye community. That may start the wheel of integration and act as a jesture of healing those old wounds of our brothers that we have buried them alive for centuries. To feel genuinely sorry is not enough for all that has been done to those broken hearts. I am not teaching hate. But an integration cup of milk is an insufficient pay for eight hundred years of slave labor and humiliation. The Mosque and the Imam must standup and say loudly. Gabooye is handsome, Gabooye is smart, Gabooye is my brother, and I owe him mountains of gold. Then the dark shadow will be replaced with a big honest smile. Some times it is difficult to separate the treasure from the trash. A Niger enslaving a Niger through the reasons of bigotry and ignorance. But by now, no more trespassing on the rights of a black man like me, a Moslem man like me, with a language like mine, and a culture like mine. It is not a matter of segregation alone, but a serious crime against the human dignity.

I close my remarks by saying to you what Martin Luther King believed, that physical death was the price he had to pay to rid America of prejudice and injustices, nothing could be more redemptive. To paraphrase the words of the immortal John F Kennedy, permit me to say that Martin Luther King work on the earth must truly be our own.

Yusef Deyr, Hargeisa Nov 27 2004

Peace and Development (APD)plans a 2-day meeting for Somaliland leaders

Nov 27 2004 Nairobi, Kenya, - The Geneva-based Academy for Peace and Development (APD) plans a two-day meeting for over 100 leaders from Somaliland to discuss recent democratic changes and create dialogue as their presidential elections remained un-recognised.

The Hargeisa meeting is expected to gather politicians, academicians and development experts to discuss parliamentary elections, constitutional reform and the decentralisation of power to local governance institutions.

Participants at the 28-29 November will also focus on the causes of conflicts that have raged in the Horn of Africa for nearly 15 years, according to a statement released by APD.

The meeting seeks to prepare the Somaliland political elite through the sharing of information through the release of various educational facilities and presentation of papers and documentary films.

Source: 27 November, 2004

Somaliland: The Rule By The Fearful

Gulaid Ismail

It is easy to dismiss the comical farce of a senior judge dishing out three year sentences on the spot for coughing in court as the antics of one particularly excitable and ill-trained legislator. Unfortunately his churlish act is part of wider malaise in Somaliland's body-politic that has to be dealt with and soon if Somaliland is to stand a chance of being taken seriously as a viable and modern nation state. At the core of this lies a state that distrusts and fears its citizens and essentially sees them as potential threats that has to be controlled or even intimidated. Some might say this reflects the background of those in power both in the legislature and the executive. After all, this opinion goes, the President himself cut his political teeth as a `security' man whose job it was to protect the government of the time from its citizenry.

But history shows us that good leaders change when they realise the political climate has shifted and that the national interest called for a new approach. That is why many former Stalinist bush fighters metamorphosed into clean-cut liberal democrats with impeccable capitalist credentials. Just look at Meles Zenawi and his once Enver Hoxha admiring EPRDF in Ethiopia and the former Marxist guerillas in Mozambique.

But in the case of Somaliland at least it appears that old habits die hard if at all. This remains a government with unshakeable dictatorial instincts. Perhaps nothing illuminates this insecure mindset more than the rationale given for banning all private broadcasting in the country. The government claims that free for all broadcasting will lead to some stations inciting clan or regional hatred and that in turn could threaten the country's peace and unity. This thought process is so outlandishly bizarre it is hard to take it seriously. For starters Somalis do not need FM broadcasts to indulge in a spot internecine clan feuding. All it takes for clan hate-fest to kick off big time is few well-placed words from few khat-stained mouths. Contrary to government claims, free-for-all broadcasting is likely to lead to the exact opposite of social discord as Somalis sink their teeth into their second most cherished sport after clan quarrelling: talking. It is well known that clan warriors in Mogadishu take a break from their fratricidal escapades during BBC broadcasting hours. Tiny FM outfits in the most anarchic parts of Somalia are doing roaring trade in discussing the latest clan meetings and dissecting the ins and outs of who is falling out with who in the fluid politics of the Khat trade. None of them seem to be inciting hatred among their listeners perhaps because no one wants their customers to kill each other. Dead customers do not listen to FM radios!

This dim-witted ban is damaging in other more tangible ways too. In a country where most people are illiterate radio is the main source of information, public education and entertainment. Somalilanders are probably some of the most imaginative and creative artists with the spoken word anywhere in the world. Radio Hargeisa in its heyday used to produce memorable radio dramas like Daabad the Horse Traveller and Balwo Time. It virtually created the modern Somali art and Music from scratch. It is therefore cruelly painful to see this once most loved of broadcasters and one of Africa's oldest media houses reduced to a measly six hour a day mouthpiece for this least imaginative of governments.

Free radio is essential for education on public health; nurturing journalistic talent, encouraging debate, challenging prejudices and entertaining the masses. It can generate wealth through advertising and nourishing small businesses at grassroots level. It can be used for local fund-raising and engendering civic pride among poorer communities. Only radio can reach areas and social groups otherwise cut-off from the 21st century world.

But Riyale's government is not swayed by rational arguments about the arts and the need for educating the masses. His maybe a government by the people but is one scared by its people too- what they might say, how they might think. It is a government by the insecure and the fearful. It needs to change or it will be made to go by the people.

Gulaid Ismail,

Source: November 26, 2004

Burao University launches fund raising campaign among Somalilanders in the Arabian Gulf region